New orders for durable goods rose again in August, gaining 1.8 percent, the 15th rise in the last 16 months. Total durable-goods orders are up 16.9 percent from a year ago. The August gain puts the level of total durable-goods orders at $263.5 billion, the second-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 0.5 percent in August after gaining 0.3 percent in July and 1.0 percent in June, putting the level at $77.1 billion, another record high and the ninth new high in the last ten months. Core capital-goods orders had broken the $70 billion mark only once before, in February 2012, but have been above $70 billion for ten consecutive months (see bottom of first chart).