New orders for durable goods rose 1.8% in January with transportation equipment leading the way, the US Commerce Department said today.
Orders totaled $230.4 billion, up from an adjusted $226.3 billion in December. The increased followed two monthly declines.
Pacing the January gain was a 6% increase in new orders for transportation equipment to $76.4 billion. It was the first increase for the category after two monthly decreases. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders declined 0.2%, the department said.
Within transportation, the big gains came from both commercial and defense aircraft and parts. The commercial category surged 70% to $7.98 billion from $4.7 billion the month before. The defense category rose 60% to $4.23 billion.
New orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 0.2% from December to $56.8 billion.
US sales of cars and light trucks, which have expanded since the recession of 2007 and 2008, have bolstered light-vehicle production. However, some analysts have forecast vehicle sales will decline slightly in 2017. The first test of that will occur March 1, when automakers are scheduled for report January US deliveries.
Boeing Co. on Jan. 25 forecast its commercial aircraft deliveries will rise to 760 to 765 in 2017 from 748 last year.
Among other categories, new orders for fabricated metal products gained 1.9% to $31.6 billion in January while machinery increased 0.5% to $31.4 billion. New orders for primary metals declined 1.6% to $18.3 billion.