WASHINGTON – Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell last month for the first time since July, pulled down by plummeting orders for commercial aircraft. A category that tracks business investment posted the biggest drop in more than a year.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods, which are meant to last at least three years, slid 1.2 percent in October after rising 2.2 percent in September and 2.1 percent in August.
But the figure was warped by an 18.6 percent drop in orders for commercial planes, a category that bounces around from month to month.
Overall, American industry is looking healthy, helped by an improving world economy and a drop in the U.S. dollar, which makes American products less expensive in foreign markets.
What you need to know:
-- October's drop in overall orders was the first decrease since a 6.8 percent slide in July.
-- A category that tracks business investment — orders for capital goods excluding defense and aircraft — fell 0.5 percent, the biggest drop since September 2016.
-- Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders were up 0.4 percent, the smallest gain since June.
-- Orders for machinery rose 0.6 percent last month, and orders for computers rose 0.7 percent.
-- An earlier survey by the Institute for Supply Management found that U.S. manufacturing has expanded for 14 straight months.