In another sign of a strengthening economy, the Commerce Department reported that new orders for manufactured durable goods rose $6.2 billion or 3.0% to $214.5 billion in December.
New orders have now increased in five of the last six months, and December’s numbers come on the heels of 4.3% increase in November.
Transportation equipment, up two consecutive months, had the largest increase, $3.0 billion or 5.5% to $58.4 billion. This was due to nondefense aircraft and parts, which increased $3.1 billion.
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.1%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.5%.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods also rose in December by $4.3 billion or 2.1% to $207.3 billion, up two of the last three months. This followed a 0.3% decline in November.