January Saw a Surprise Surge in Core Durable-Goods Orders

A worker manipulates a cask of molten iron during cookware production at the Lodge Manufac
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key measure of business investment saw an unexpectedly sharp rise in January, adding to the evidence that the economy began the year at a much more robust pace than forecast.

Orders for core capital goods rose 0.8 percent in January and shipments jumped 1.1 percent. Economists had expected orders would fall slightly after declining in the previous two months.

Core capital goods are non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft. Orders are thought to be a proxy for business investment.

Total orders for durable goods fell 4.5 percent in January, largely due to lower orders of airplanes. New orders for aircraft plunged 54.6 percent after rising 105.6 percent in December. Because aircraft are priced so high, the category tends to be extremely volatile.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 0.2 percent and shipments were flat. Orders for defense aircraft and parts were up 5.5 percent.

Excluding transportation, orders were up 0.7 percent and shipments up 0.8 percent.

Machine orders rose 1.2 percent and shipments 1.6 percent. Orders for computers rose seven percent and shipments 5.9 percent. Orders for appliances were up 0.6 percent and shipments up 2.9 percent.

The figures are seasonally adjusted but not adjusted for inflation. In January, inflation surged. The producer price index tracking processed goods for intermediate demand rose one percent compared with a month earlier, the first month-to-month increase since June. The index tracking private capital equipment rose 0.8 percent and the index for durable consumer goods climbed 0.5 percent.



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.