The Commerce Department said Monday that durable goods orders in the U.S. fell as aircraft and the transportation component weighed down in May. The median economic forecast called for a -0.4%, but orders for long-lasting manufacturing goods fell 1.1% from April to a seasonally adjusted $228.18 billion in May.
The drop was fueled by large declines in two volatile components, a 30.8% drop in military-aircraft orders and a 11.7% drop in orders for civilian airplanes and parts. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders rose 0.1%. Excluding defense products, orders were down 0.6% from last month.
While the latest government report is weak, factory demand and activity overall has gained strength in 2017. Durable-goods orders rose 2.8% in the first five months of 2017 compared with a year earlier.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft–which serves as a closely-watched proxy for business investment in new equipment–fell 0.2% in May. But it was up 2.3% year-to-date.
The report also wasn’t without positives, including a strong 0.6% gain in machinery orders and a stronger 1.2% gain in orders for vehicles. The latter follows a 0.5% increase in the prior month. Shipments of vehicles are on a similar upward trend.