WASHINGTON, DC – Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rebounded last month on a surge in demand for military aircraft.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods — which are meant to last at least three years — rose 0.6% in October after dropping in September. Orders for military aircraft increased 18.1%. Excluding defense, durable goods orders blipped up just 0.1%.
The numbers reflected a strike at General Motors, settled in late October. Orders for cars and auto parts fell 1.9% in October and 2.9% in September.
American manufacturing has been hurt by a trade war with China and a slowing global economy. So far this year, durable goods orders are down 0.8%. Orders for civilian aircraft have plunged 38.5% this year after Boeing suspended production of the 737 Max while regulators investigate two deadly crashes.
Overall the increase in durable goods orders from September to October orders was better than economists had expected. But the September figure was downgraded to a 1.4% drop, worse than the 1.1% decrease Commerce originally announced.
A closely watched category that tracks business investment rose 1.2% last month, the biggest jump since January, reversing a 0.5% drop in September.