Orders for Manufactured Goods Slowed Sharply in September

(CN) – Orders for goods manufactured by U.S. factories slowed dramatically in September, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Overall, demand for so-called “durable goods,” a category that includes household appliances, computers, machinery and any other manufactured item expected to be used over a long period of time, rose a slight 0.8 percent in September.

But that was down from a 4.6 percent surge in August.

According to the government, the marked change in the numbers was largely due to the volatility of the aircraft sector, which jumped 63.7 percent in August, only to fall 17.5 percent the following month.

Demand for autos was up 1.3 percent in September, while demand for military aircraft rose 119.1 percent even as orders for commercial aircraft fell.

Orders for machinery increased 0.8 percent while demand for primary metals such as steel rose 0.1 percent. Demand for computers fell 0.4 percent while orders for communication equipment slipped 0.1 percent.

In other economic news, the government released its first estimate for overall economic growth in the third quarter. The current projection for the July-to-September period is an annual growth rate of 3 percent.

That’s down significantly from the 4.2 percent posted in the second quarter, which was the best showing by the economy in four years.

Also on Friday, the Labor Department said new applications for unemployment benefits rose 5,000 last week to a still-low 215,000.

Benefit applications, which are a proxy for layoffs, had been down by 5,000 in the previous week.

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