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Durable Goods Orders Rise on Commercial Aircraft

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

New orders for durable goods rose in January, paced by commercial aircraft, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today.

Orders advanced by 1.6 percent to $277.5 billion last month, which followed an adjusted 1.2 percent increase for December. January marked the eighth increase in the past nine months.

Excluding transportation equipment, the January rise was 0.7 percent. Excluding defense, the increase was 1.6 percent.

The overall transportation category saw a 3.4 percent monthly rise to $87.6 billion, the third consecutive monthly boost.

Within transportation, commercial aircraft soared 16 percent to $20.2 billion. The sector has been recovering from COVID-19, which slashed demand for air travel in 2020. Such demand has been rising and deliveries of aircraft have picked up.

Other transportation categories didn’t fare as well.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts slipped 0.4 percent to $54.9 billion. The auto industry continues to feel the impact of a global shortage of computer chips. In 2021, the shortage caused temporary plant shutdowns and reduced production.

The microprocessor situation initially was seen as a short-term issue. However, analysts now say the shortage is likely to extend into 2023.

Orders for defense aircraft dropped 41 percent to $2.4 billion.

Among other categories, orders for machinery rose 2.3 percent to $39.6 billion. Orders for primary metals advanced 0.2 percent to $25.3 billion. Orders for fabricated metal products rose 0.1 percent to $37.5 billion.

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

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