Orders for US durable goods advance 2.4% in December

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose 2.4% in December, led by defense surge

WASHINGTON —
Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose in December as a big jump in demand for military aircraft offset a sharp decline in commercial aircraft. A key category that tracks business investment fell by the largest amount in eight months.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 2.4% in December, the strongest showing since August. However, excluding defense, new orders would have fallen 2.5%.

The category that tracks business investment plans dropped 0.9%, the biggest decline since a 1.1% setback in April.

Business investment has been hurt over the past year by uncertainties generated by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Now that agreement has been reached on a Phase One deal, there is hope that a more stable outlook on trade will convince businesses to start investing again to expand and modernize their operations.

Demand for commercial aircraft fell a sharp 74.7 percent, reflecting the struggle Boeing has had getting its troubles Boeing has had with its troubled 737 Max plane following two fatal crashes.