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Durable Goods Orders Dropped 6.1% in January

Durable Goods Orders Dropped 6.1% in January

New orders for manufactured durable goods declined by 6.1% in January.

Orders dropped by $18 billion to $276.7 billion during the month, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a Tuesday (Feb. 27) press release.

January’s drop in orders for durable goods followed a 0.3% decline in December — a figure that was revised downward Tuesday — and marked the third reduction in the past four months, according to the release.

The month’s biggest decline was in transportation equipment, which fell by 16.2%, the release said.

Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.3% in January, per the release. Excluding defense, they decreased 7.3%.

The overall drop in durable goods orders exceeded economists’ expectations, Reuters reported Tuesday. Economists polled by the media outlet had forecast a 4.5% decline.

Reuters added that the January drop was the biggest since April 2020, a month in which the economy was feeling the first impact of the pandemic.

Freezing temperatures in January and seasonal fluctuations at the beginning of the year contributed to the latest drop, according to the report.

The report also cited the early January incident in which a cabin panel detached from a Boeing plane in mid-flight. Boeing orders for commercial aircraft dropped from 371 in December to three in January, contributing to a decline of 58.9% in overall civilian aircraft orders, the report said.

Other data released in February showed a slowdown in the economy, with news of weaker retail sales, housing starts and manufacturing production, per the report.

Still, economists do not expect a recession, the report said.

Tuesday’s news of a decline in durable goods orders follows a Feb. 15 report by the Census Bureau showing that retail sales slid 0.8% in January. Nine of 13 categories were lower during the month.

The dip in retail sales was worse than estimates. The consensus forecast had been for a 0.3% decline.

It was reported at the time that consumers had grown increasingly budget-conscious. While they continued to dine out and put food on the table, they cut back most everywhere else.