New orders for manufactured durable goods in December increased by $5.7 billion or 2.4 percent to $245.5 billion, the US Census Bureau announced today. A shape rise in defense orders, which were up by 102 percent from November, drove the increase. Transportation equipment orders, driven by a 168 percent increase for defense aircraft, were up by 7.6 percent.
- Excluding defense, new orders decreased by 2.5 percent.
- Excluding transportation, new orders decreased by 0.1 percent.
- Non-defense aircraft and parts declined by 69.1 percent as the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX airliner continues to hit the aircraft industry.
Although the preliminary results for December were significantly better than the consensus expectation of a fall of 0.3 percent, the heavy concentration of the growth in defense goods underlines potential weakness going forward.