New orders for US durable goods jumped in July, but a second consecutive month of declines in a measure of planned business spending pointed to a slowing growth trend in the factory sector.
The Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goodsâ€”expensive manufactured items expected to last at least three yearsâ€”surged 4.2 percent last month on strong demand for civilian aircraft. It was the biggest monthly increase since December, and it followed a 1.6 percent gain in June.
Julyâ€™s gain was powered by a 14.1 percent jump in transportation equipment as demand for civilian aircraft surged 53.9 percent. Boeing received orders for 260 aircraft, up from 24 in June. The aircraft jump was complemented by a 12.8 percent increase in motor-vehicle orders, the biggest gain in a year.
Excluding transportation items, durable-goods orders fell 0.4 percent, dropping for the second consecutive month. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraftâ€”a closely watched gauge of business spending plansâ€”fell 3.4 percent after a 2.7 percent drop in June.
The mixed report suggested a cooling in the growth pace in manufacturing, a sector that has powered the economyâ€™s recovery from the 2007-2009 recession.