Durable goods orders increase in November

December 23, 2011

The demand by companies for long-lasting manufactured goods rose by the largest margin in four months in November, as the increase was driven by orders in several sectors, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, the Commerce Department said that orders to U.S. factories for durable goods rose 3.8 percent in November. Business investment spending has surged as businesses stepped up orders to take advantage of tax breaks that are set to expire by the end of the year.

While certain industries have fallen over the past several months, reeling from the effects of an economic crisis in Europe and other global factors, manufacturing has been a bright spot for the U.S., according to the AP.

Data from the U.S. Census, as reported by Bloomberg, indicated that new orders for manufactured durable goods in November increased $7.5 billion or 3.8 percent to $207 billion. This rise, up for four of the last five months, built on the growth posted in October.

According to the report, revised seasonally adjusted October figures for all manufacturing industries showed that new orders had increased more than initially posted, as well as a lower number for total inventories for the associated companies.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that transportation goods drove most of the growth. Analysts had expected an overall rise in the durable goods orders within the U.S. and said the underlying picture from the data was positive.

"This was a positive surprise, and the prior month's number was revised upwards," Chris Orndorff, senior portfolio manager at Western Asset Management, told the news source. "A good sign, but the rolling average of the last three months is still far below the high durable goods levels of Q1 2011. And the 2011 levels are below the 2010 levels, so by this measure the economy is still muddling along. However, at least it is in positive territory."

The AP reported that positive numbers were the latest good sign for the industry, as Institute for Supply Management data that was released earlier in December indicated that the manufacturing sector has grown for 28 straight months.

Manufacturing has fared especially well in some areas of the country. The industry is booming in the Philadelphia region as the Federal Reserve Bank of the city reported that measures for general activity, new orders, shipments and employment all suggested year-end growth, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer