The U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday new orders for manufactured durable goods in September fell 1.2 percent to $231.1 billion following a revised decrease of 3 percent in August.
New orders for transportation equipment, also down for the second consecutive month, were a primary driver in the overall decrease, dropping 2.9 percent to $75.5 billion after a 5.8 percent decline the previous month.
The transportation segment was dragged down by a 35.7 percent plunge in new orders for nondefense aircraft and parts. Commercial aircraft giant Boeing received only 29 orders last month, down 44.2 percent from 52 new aircraft orders in August, according to data on the company’s website
The bureau noted that excluding transportation equipment orders, total new orders for durable goods decreased just 0.4 percent.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods, on the other hand, have grown in three of the previous four months.
Durable goods shipments were up 0.2 percent to $242.5 billion following a 0.5 percent August decrease. The increase was driven primarily by shipments of transportation equipment, which grew 0.6 percent to $81.0 billion, according to the Census Bureau.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the September slump in durable goods orders is “the latest sign of a slowdown at U.S. factories and a potential drag on economic growth.” Economists surveyed by WSJ previously predicted overall orders to fall 1.5 percent in September.
“Figures for durable goods are volatile and subject to significant revisions, but the broader trend suggests low oil prices, a strong dollar and slower overseas growth are curtailing demand for many manufactured products,” said WSJ.
Through the first nine months of the year, overall durable orders and shipments are down 4.6 percent and up 2.1 percent, respectively, compared with the same period in 2014, according to the Census Bureau.
Orders for durable goods – defined by the Census Bureau as products designed to last at least three years – are a key indicator in the overall health of the U.S. economy.