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Durable Goods Down In March

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. durable goods orders dropped 5.7 percent in March, marking the second downturn in the past three months, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Factory orders dropped to $216.3 billion, down by $13.1 billion after a 4.3 percent increase in February, which was previously reported as a 5.7 percent gain.

Excluding transportation equipment, factory orders for goods expected to last at least three years fell 1.4 percent. Excluding defense orders, new business for factories dropped 4.7 percent, the Commerce Department said.

Transportation orders, which have been see-sawing for seven months, dropped 15 percent or $11 billion to $62.4 billion.

Among transportation orders, non-defense aircraft and parts led the decline with a drop of $8.5 billion in new orders.

Durable goods inventories, up for 17 of the past 18 months, rose slightly to $377.2 billion. Shipments, up six of the past seven months, rose 0.4 percent to $230 billion.

New orders for capital goods in March fell by 10.6 percent or $8.3 billion to $70.2 billion.

The capital goods category is considered a leading indicator, showing how much businesses are investing in themselves for items such as printing presses, tool and die presses, backhoes and other equipment. If business managers sense a downturn ahead, they hesitate to invest in new equipment.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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