Core Capital-Goods Orders Suggest Business Investment Remains Robust

New orders for durable goods fell in September, falling 0.4 percent, just the second decline in the last 17 months. Total durable-goods orders are up 20.7 percent from a year ago and 14.0 percent from January 2020. The September gain puts the level of total durable-goods orders at $261.3 billion, the third-highest level on record (see top of first chart).

New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft or core capital goods, a proxy for business equipment investment, rose 0.8 percent in September after gaining 0.5 percent in August, 0.3 percent in July, and 1.0 percent in June, putting the level at $77.7 billion, another record high and the tenth new high in the last eleven months.  Core capital-goods orders had broken the $70 billion mark only once before, in February 2012, but have been above $70 billion for 11 consecutive months (see bottom of first chart).

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