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Durable Goods Orders Rise in March

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

New orders for durable goods increased 0.8 percent to $275 billion in March, the Commerce Department said today.

The monthly gain was paced by computers and electronic products, up 2.6 percent to $26.3 billion, according to a department report.

Orders have risen five of the past six months. The March increase followed a 1.7 percent decline in February.

Excluding transportation, orders in March rose 1.1 percent. Excluding defense, new orders gained 1.2 percent.

The overall transportation equipment category rose 0.2 percent to $83.7 billion. However, the different parts of the category varied greatly.

The bright spot for transportation was motor vehicles and parts, up 5 percent to $57.7 billion. The auto industry continues to cope with a global shortage of semiconductors. That has led to temporary plant shutdowns and slim inventory on dealer lots.

Orders for commercial aircraft and parts slid 9.9 percent to $12.7 billion. Boeing Co. has been resuming deliveries of its 737 Max aircraft while still dealing with production issues with its 787 planes.

Defense aircraft orders fell 26 percent to $3.3 billion.

Among other categories, orders for primary metals increased 1.5 percent to $25.55 billion. Orders for fabricated metal products increased 0.8 percent to $38.1 billion. Orders for machinery gained 0.7 percent to $39 billion.

The durable goods report is based on a survey of about 3,100 companies.

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