In a splash of good news for the coronavirus-battered economy, new orders for durable goods rose 1.3 percent in October, new federal stats show.
New orders for manufactured durable goods rose $3 billion last month, to a total of $248 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report released on Wednesday (Nov. 25).
That was significantly faster than analysts had expected, with a Bloomberg survey having expected a smaller, 0.8 percent increase.
It also continues a trend of increases over the past six months that have seen the once-beleaguered manufacturing sector help buoy the U.S. economy, even as the coronavirus and the lockdown measures it has triggered devastates the service and restaurant industries.
Durable goods orders plunged by double digits in March and April amid what amounted to a national lockdown with the arrival of the first wave of the coronavirus, only to rebound strongly, with double-digit increases in May and July and a sizable single-digit boost in June.
After falling almost flat in August, durable goods orders have posted modest but significant gains over the past two months.
In shipments, fabricated metal products, also up five of the last six months, led the increase, rising $0.7 billion, or 2.4 percent to $30.9 billion in October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
New orders for transportation equipment saw an increase of nearly $1 billion, or 1.2 percent, to $77.1 billion, the fifth oof the last six months the sector has seen an increase in orders.
New orders for fabricated metal products also rose, with a 2.4 percent increase that was considerably above the average for the month.
The $700 million jump in orders in the sector brought the total for October up to nearly $31 billion, also the fifth increase out of the past six months.
Unfilled orders for durable goods also fell in October, falling by $2.8 billion, or 0.3 percent. This comes after a similar drop in this key category in September, when unfilled orders declined 0.2 percent.