The Commerce Department reported Thursday that new durable goods orders for big-ticket manufactured products expected to last three years rose in January. Orders for products like refrigerators and cars climbed to a seasonally adjusted 2.8 percent in January, or up $6.5 billion to $236.1 billion from a month earlier.
Unfortunately, much of the gain was due to the transportation sector, as gains were weak otherwise across-the-board. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, new durable goods orders rose by just 0.3 percent.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected overall orders to rise 0.6 percent. Meanwhile, business spending on equipment and software-orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft-increased 0.6 percent last month from December.
The slight yet weak increase follows two consecutive monthly decreases, including a 3.7 percent December decrease.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in January, which have been down three of the last four months, decreased $2.7 billion or 1.1 percent to $245.1 billion. This followed a 1.5 percent December increase.