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New orders for manufactured durable goods, driven mostly by a surge in demand for new airplanes, increased by 5.6% in December to $286.9 billion, the federal government reported on Thursday.

Durable goods orders have risen four of the last five months. The exception was in November, when there was a 1.7% decrease, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest  monthly data on economic conditions in the domestic manufacturing sector.

However, if the more volatile transportation sector is removed from the data, orders for factory-produced durable goods actually contracted by -0.1% in December, the report said.

Overall transportation equipment orders increased by $15.5 billion to $108.1 billion in December. Transportation equipment, led by new orders for commercial aircraft (+115.5%), drove the overall increase. New orders for new vehicles and parts, however, increased by less than 1%.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods also increased in December, rising by $1.4 billion, or 0.5%, to $277.7 billion.  This followed a 0.4 % November increase. Shipments of manufactured durable goods have increased 19 of the last 20 months.

Once again, the transportation equipment sector drove the overall increase in shipments for December, rising 1.7% for the month to $93.8 billion. If transportation equipment shipments are removed from the equation, durable goods shipments contracted by -0.1%.