Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose by better than expected 4.6 per cent in December, indicating manufacturing activity bounced back after a mid-year slowdown.
The latest data out of the Commerce Department beats the median estimate of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg which predicted a 2 per cent jump. Not counting the often volatile demand for transportation equipment, orders gained a smaller but still strong 1.3 per cent amid rising orders for military hardware, according to the Commerce Department.
Bookings for core capital goods, which gauge private-sector business investment, only slightly increased by 0.2 per cent after two consecutive months of strong performance.
Last month also saw shipments of manufactured durable goods, which have been up in five of the last six months, rise by 1.3 per cent to $230.6 billion, following a 1.8 per cent increase in November.
The report also showed inventories of manufactured durable goods last month declined $0.1bn to $374.5bn, after increasing for 14 straight months. In November, inventories rose by 0.1 per cent.
The economic rebound, driven by better auto sales and improving housing market, indicate that orders will likely remain high for manufacturers. Increased growth in markets abroad and a deal in Congress on government spending would push business confidence even higher and boost greater investment.