New orders for U.S. factory goods rebounded in November, led by a surge in aircraft demand, while businesses increased capital spending, the government reported Monday, adding to signs of strong momentum in the economy in late 2013.
The Commerce Department said factory orders rose 1.8 percent in November, following a 0.5 percent drop the previous month, to the highest level on records dating from 1992.
November factory orders rose in most categories, with notable gains in transportation, which increased 8.3 percent after falling 3.5 percent in October. Gains were driven by a 21.8 percent jump in volatile aircraft orders.
Excluding transportation, factory orders rose 0.6 percent in November after rising 0.1 percent the previous month. Orders for core capital goods-considered a gauge of business investment plans-increased 1 percent.
There also were gains in orders for machinery, computer and electronic products, and fabricated metal products. Orders for electrical equipment and primary metals fell.
The report joined other data on employment, consumer spending, and homebuilding to show a healthy economy. While growth is widely expected to slow in the fourth quarter from the July-September period’s inventory-driven surge, the economy has been accumulating underlying strength, enough to set in on a faster growth path in 2014.
A 16-day shutdown of the federal government in October is expected to have reduced fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth by as much as 0.6 percentage point.