New orders for durable goods fell 2 percent in October due to a big drop in transportation orders, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
New orders for durable goods totalled $230.3 billion, down $4.6 billion from the September level, the data showed. Analysts had projected a decline of 2.2 percent.
Orders for transportation equipment drove the overall count down, falling 5.9 percent to $73.0 billion.
Of the different segments in transportation equipment, new orders for civilian aircraft fell 15.9 percent to $16 billion, while new orders for defense aircraft dropped 20 percent to 4.0 billion.
Excluding transportation equipment orders, which can vary widely month-over-month, durable goods orders dipped 0.1 percent to $157.2 billion.
Analysts said the report was disappointing and suggested business was holding back in light of continued uncertainty in Washington, where a bitter political debate led to a partial government shutdown in October.
"If it looks like the budget talks are making progress (and so far, it doesn’t appear that way), that will lift the heavy fog of political uncertainty and help boost business investment," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
"Until that happens, there is downside to Q4 business investment."