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Durable Goods Orders Decrease in December on Aircraft

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

New orders for durable goods fell in December on decreases in orders for commercial and defense aircraft, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today.

Orders slid 0.9 percent for the month to $267.6 billion. That followed two consecutive monthly increases.

The transportation equipment category slid 3.9 percent to $80.1 billion. Within transportation, orders for commercial aircraft and parts plunged 14 percent to $12.1 billion. Orders for defense aircraft and parts fell 11 percent to $4.7 billion.

Motor vehicles and parts, another part of the transportation equipment category, saw a 1.4 percent increase to $54.9 billion.

Excluding transportation, durable orders rose 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, orders rose 0.1 percent.

The overall transportation category has been down three of the past four months. The auto industry has been slammed by a shortage in semiconductors, which has affected output. Aerospace in 2020 was severely impacted by COVID-19, which cut demand for air travel. Last year, the sector began to recover but hasn’t yet made it back to pre-pandemic levels.

Among other categories, orders for primary metals gained 2 percent to almost $25 billion. Orders for fabricated metal parts increased 1.5 percent to $37.5 billion. Orders for machinery slipped 0.1 percent to $38.2 billion.

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

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