Orders For Cars, Transportation Equipment Rebound In September

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The U.S. economy may be rebounding faster than previously thought, with orders of durable goods – from cars to communications equipment – handily beating estimates for September.

Durable goods orders surged 1.9 percent in September, the U.S. Census Bureau announced on Tuesday (Oct. 27), more than three times the .5 percent rise analysts had predicted. Overall, orders for manufactured durable goods rose by $4.3 billion in September, to $237.1 billion.

It was the fifth month the key economic indicator rose, following a less robust .4 percent increase in August.

Even excluding transportation, where demand can be extremely variable, demand for durable goods rose .8 percent, or double the rate seen in August.

The auto industry helped lead the way, with rock-bottom interest rates spurring on buyers, much in the same way it has been doing in the home-buying sector.

Orders of motor vehicles and parts rose 1.5 percent, while new orders for communications equipment posted a 1.4 percent increase. That followed a 4.1 percent drop in car orders in August.

Orders for primary metals jumped 4 percent, while demand for fabricated metal products rose 1.2 percent.

Along with new orders, shipments of durable goods also rose in September, although at a much more modest rate. Shipments increased $700 million to $245 billion for a .3 percent increase following a .3 percent drop in August.

Transportation equipment led the way, with shipments rising .5 percent to $82 billion.

Still, the durable goods report also reveals a number of areas of weakness in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Orders for machinery edged down .3 percent, while orders for computers and other items (excluding electronics) declined 3.1 percent.

Demand for new civilian aircraft also skidded along at rock-bottom levels, as Boeing struggles to rebound from the 737 Max disaster. There were no new orders for civilian aircraft or parts, while shipments plunged 5.6 percent.

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