WASHINGTON - New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell 3.7 per cent in January, the biggest decline since July 2017, following two months of increases that reflected strength in the country's industry.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that orders were depressed by a 10 per cent drop in demand for transportation equipment, a category that can bounce around from month to month. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders slipped only 0.3 per cent. Orders for defence capital goods plunged 26.3 per cent. Excluding defence, new durable goods orders fell 2.7 per cent.
Overall orders in January for durable goods, which are meant to last at least three years, decreased 3.7 per cent to $239.7 billion. Orders were up 5.8 per cent for the full year 2017, the best showing in six years.
American manufacturers have benefited from a pickup in global economic growth and a weaker dollar, which makes U.S. goods less expensive in foreign markets.
—The Commerce Department downgraded the December increase in durable goods orders to 2.6 per cent from the 2.9 per cent gain it originally reported.
—January orders for computers increased 6.4 per cent after falling 4.9 per cent in December.
—Machinery orders fell 0.4 per cent after gaining 0.5 per cent the previous month.