WASHINGTON – Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticketed manufactured goods rose a moderate 0.9% in November with a key category that tracks business investment plans showing a gain.
The November gain in orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, followed stronger gains in recent months including a 3.8% rise in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending rose a modest 0.4% in November following much stronger gains of 3.6% in October and 3.9% in September.
Analysts are concerned that business investment could begin to fade if the resurgence of the coronavirus curtails demand.
The strength in November included a 3.4% rise in demand for motor vehicles and parts, which represented a rebound following a 2.5% drop in October.
Overall, orders for transportation equipment rose by 1.9%. Demand for commercial aircraft fell by 2.9% as the airline industry continued to be battered by a slump in travel due to the pandemic.
Oren Klachkin, an economist at Oxford Economics, noted the slowdown in overall orders and said “factory activity is set to grind forward in a low gear in 2021.” He said this would reflect weaker spending on consumer goods and a slowing in economic momentum.