New orders for U.S. manufactured good soared in November on strong demand for aircraft, but a gauge of business spending plans fell for a second month, suggesting a cooling in investment.
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Durable goods orders jumped 3.8% after being flat in October, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Economists had forecast orders rising 2% from a previously reported 0.5% fall.
Durable goods range from toasters to big-ticket items such as aircraft which are meant to last three years and more.
Excluding transportation, orders rose 0.3% after rising 1.5% in October. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, fell 1.2%.
The category had dropped 0.9% in October. Economists' had expected a 1.0% gain last month.
Business spending, which has helped the economy to recover from the 2007-09 recession, is slowing, but analysts still expect corporations holding about $2 trillion in cash to continue investing in capital.
Orders for durable goods last month were buoyed by a 14.7% increase in bookings for transportation equipment as orders for civilian aircraft surged 73.3%.
Boeing received 96 orders for aircraft, according to the plane maker's website, up from 7 in October.
Orders for motor vehicles, however, fell 0.5% after rising 5.9% the prior month.
Outside transportation, details of the report were mixed, with machinery orders rising, but demand for computers and related products falling.
The decline in orders for motor vehicles, computers and electrical equipment could be related to supply chain disruptions following flooding in Thailand.
Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, fell 1.0% after declining 0.8% in October