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Durable goods orders fall in August, but some signs are positive

September 28, 2011 | 10:16 am

There was a mix of good and bad in the monthly durable goods report issued by the Department of Commerce.

First the bad: new orders for manufactured durable goods decreased in August by $200 million, or 0.1%, to $201.8 billion. Although small, the dip was the second in the last three months; it followed a 4.1% gain in July.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in August decreased $400 million, or 0.2%, to $201 billion. That followed three consecutive monthly gains. But this was tempered by unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in August. Those have gone up 16 of the last 17 months, and they increased by $7.6 billion, or 0.9%, to $878.6 billion.

And inventories of manufactured durable goods increased $3.2 billion, or 0.9%, to $365.3 billion in August. That was the highest level since 1992.

Orders for capital goods also are on the rise. This is a sign of confidence in the economy as companies order equipment even though consumer confidence is down. Non-defense new orders for capital goods increased $3.9 billion (5.2 %) to $78.1 billion in August.


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Photo: Snowblowers and lawn mowers sit outside a Lowes store in Pembroke, Mass.  Credit: Stephan Savoia / Associated Press