US durable goods orders continue to fall in May

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell sharply in May while demand in a category that tracks business investment increased modestly.

Orders fell by 1.3 percent in May following an even bigger 2.8 percent drop in the month before, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That weakness reflected a sharp falloff in orders for commercial aircraft, a category that has been hurt by the troubles with Boeing’s MAX aircraft, which has been grounded by global regulators after two fatal crashes.

The category that serves as a proxy for business investment edged up by 0.4 percent in May after a 1 percent decline in April. It was the biggest gain since a 1.4 percent jump in January. Economists have been worried about a slowdown in business investment orders, believing it shows business concerns about rising trade tensions.

The report on durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, showed that excluding the volatile transportation category, orders would have risen by a mere 0.3 percent in May following a 0.1 percent dip in orders excluding transportation in April.

Orders in the volatile commercial aircraft category fell 28.2 percent in May after an even bigger 39.3 percent plunge in April.

Demand for motor vehicles and parts edged up by 0.6 percent after a 3.2 percent decline in April. Automakers have faced problems with falling demand for new cars this year.

Orders for machinery were up by  0.7 percent in May while demand for primary metals such as steel edged up by 0.4 percent after a 2.4 percent drop in April.-AP