Durable goods orders increased last month thanks to a surge in orders for commercial aircraft, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today.
Orders gained 1.8 percent to $263.5 billion in August from the month before. That followed a 0.5 percent rise in July. Orders have risen 15 of the past 16 months.
Excluding transportation, orders rose only 0.2 percent, according to the department. Excluding defense, orders rose 2.4 percent.
The overall transportation category rose 5.5 percent to $80.8 billion. Within transportation, commercial aircraft and parts soared 78 percent to $16.3 billion.
The commercial aircraft sector has been recovering from 2020. That’s when demand for air travel was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in canceled orders.
Since then, demand for aircraft has improved. Boeing Co.’s 737 Max has returned to service in major markets after being grounded in 2019 following two fatal crashes.
Orders for defense aircraft slid 18 percent to $2.8 billion. Orders for motor vehicles and parts slipped 3.1 percent to $51.9 billion.
The auto industry has suffered temporary plant closings and decreased output because of a global shortage of computer chips. That shortage is forecast to continue into 2022.
In other categories, orders for fabricated metal products gained 2 percent to $36.5 billion. Orders for machinery declined 1.2 percent to $38.05 billion. Orders for primary metals slipped 1.5 percent to $24.1 billion.
The report is based on a survey of about 3,100 companies.