Transportation equipment, specifically aircraft orders, are once again skewing durable goods orders which fell 2.0 percent in August as expected. Excluding transportation, durable goods were unchanged which is slightly lower than expected. Weakness here in part reflects a pause for core capital goods as nondefense ex-auto orders slipped 0.2 percent following two prior months of very solid growth.
Looking at transportation equipment, both aircraft and motor vehicles were weak. Orders for civilian aircraft fell 12 percent in the month while vehicle orders fell 1.5 percent. Vehicle shipments were down 1.6 percent but follow July’s big 4.7 percent surge.
Total shipments were flat in the month but follow solid gains in July and June. Core capital goods shipments, like orders, slipped 0.2 percent but also follow prior gains. Still, the dip in core shipments will not be lifting third-quarter GDP estimates. Factories held inventories unchanged in August and worked off backlog orders slightly, down 0.2 percent.
This report falls in line with last week’s industrial production data where manufacturing basically held flat in August. Weakness in exports is the balancing factor tipping the factory sector away from growth.