(Reuters) – New orders for capital goods by U.S. businesses rebounded in August, pointing to underlying strength in the economy.
The economic outlook also got a lift from other data on Thursday showing only a marginal increase in the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week.
“This is supportive of the U.S. economy continuing to expand at a healthy pace in the second half of the year,” said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Commerce Department said non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 0.6 percent. Orders for the so-called core capital goods orders fell by a revised 0.2 percent in July.
Last month’s increase was in line with expectations. Core capital goods orders were previously reported to have declined 0.7 percent in July.
While orders for long-lasting manufactured goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last three years or more, fell a record 18.2 percent, that was payback for an aircraft-driven jump in July.
Durable goods orders increased 22.5 percent in July, the largest gain since the government started tracking the series in 1992, as civilian aircraft orders soared 315.6 percent. Orders for the volatile transportation category declined 42.0 percent last month as aircraft orders tumbled 74.3 percent.
Boeing (BA.N) reported on its website that it had received 107 orders last month, a third of July’s outsized gains. Automobile orders fell 6.4 percent following a 10.0 percent increase the prior month.
The underlying trend in new orders, however, is up and further gains are likely in the months ahead.
A manufacturing survey early this month showed a measure of new orders jumped to a near 10-1/2-year high in August and businesses showed an increased appetite for capital spending.