Durable goods orders declined in February after orders for commercial aircraft and parts nosedived.
Orders fell 1.6 percent to $250.6 billion, according to a report today by the U.S. Commerce Department. The decline occurred after three consecutive advances, including a rise of 0.1 percent in January.
Orders for commercial aircraft plunged 31 percent to $10.2 billion in February. That was down from $14.8 billion the month before. The category has been volatile, often posting large monthly gains or declines.
The overall transportation equipment category fell 4.8 percent to $86 billion in February, down from $90.3 billion in January. That followed three monthly increases.
Also contributing to the transportation results was a 0.1 percent fall for motor vehicles and parts to $61.8 billion. U.S. deliveries of cars and light trucks are forecast to slow this year following four consecutive years above 17 million. The one transportation bright spot was a 2.5 percent gain for defense aircraft and parts to $4.6 billion.
Behind the Numbers
Excluding transportation, new orders for durable goods rose 0.1 percent, the department said. Excluding defense, new orders declined 1.9 percent.
In other categories:
–New orders for primary metals increased 0.7 percent to $21.5 billion.
–Orders for fabricated metal products gained 0.3 percent to $34.3 billion.
–Orders for machinery fell 0.3 percent to $33.2 billion.
The February durable goods report was delayed by the Dec. 22-Jan. 25 U.S. government shutdown. Prior to that, the Commerce Department would issue the report during the second half of a month and it would cover the preceding month. The durable goods report didn’t come out during the shutdown. The report for March is scheduled for April 25, the normal schedule prior to the shutdown.