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Durable goods orders were flat in August, according to the Commerce Department.
Economists had forecast that orders for things designed to last for a long time fell 1.5% during the month, according to Bloomberg.
A rise in defense orders boosted the headline print, after the US Air Force ordered 19 Boeing 767-based tanker aircraft. Commercial-aircraft orders fell.
But transportation orders are usually volatile, and capital-goods orders for non-defense items excluding aircraft, or so-called core durable goods, increased by 0.6% (estimated to drop 0.1%). Shipments in this category fell 0.4% (0.1% forecast).
That was the fourth straight month of a rise in core orders.
“The key factor driving the turnaround is the rebound in activity in the oil sector, but note that the NFIB survey also points strongly to an upturn in orders for non-oil, non-residential capex too,” said Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson in a note.
“In the light of the plunge in the ISM manufacturing index, these numbers are very comforting.”