Orders for longer-lasting goods rose in March by 2.6% and beating a nearby consensus forecast. The gain was broad-based with all sectors showing increasing output. The ex-transport measure showed a rise of orders of 2.0%, which is the fastest pace of order growth since January 2013. Within the transport measure the pacesetter was commercial aircraft (+8.6%) rather than autos, where orders grew by just 0.4%. Electrical equipment and machinery orders each snapped back following two months of declines.
Orders for fabricated metals rose by 2.2% easily reversed a February decline while orders for primary metals jumped for a second straight month. Demand for capital goods outside of the defense arena rose by 1.7% and improved on a minor gain in February. It was the strongest gain since November. Such demand is often seen as a gauge of core business investment and includes computers and other capital equipment items.
Signs of faster growth will probably outweigh the accompanying jump in weekly initial jobless claims, which rose by 25,000 to 329,000 and missing economists’ forecast of 315,000. Gathering final demand is likely to lead to higher future employment while the latest view of granular jobs data is subject to distortions owing to the timing of Easter.
Chart shows durable goods and ex-transport orders.