US durable goods orders down 3.7 percent in January

FILE- This Jan. 22, 2018, file photo shows a Whirlpool microwave and oven on display in the appliance section of a Lowe's in Wexford, Pa. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2017, the Commerce Department releases its report on durable goods for January. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

WASHINGTON — New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell 3.7 percent in January, the biggest decline since July 2017, following two months of increases that reflected strength in the country's industry.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that orders were depressed by a 10 percent drop in demand for transportation equipment, a category that can bounce around from month to month. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders slipped only 0.3 percent. Orders for defense capital goods plunged 26.3 percent. Excluding defense, new durable goods orders fell 2.7 percent.

Overall orders in January for durable goods, which are meant to last at least three years, decreased 3.7 percent to $239.7 billion. Orders were up 5.8 percent for the full year 2017, the best showing in six years.

American manufacturers have benefited from a pickup in global economic growth and a weaker dollar, which makes U.S. goods less expensive in foreign markets.

Details:

—The Commerce Department downgraded the December increase in durable goods orders to 2.6 percent from the 2.9 percent gain it originally reported.

—January orders for computers increased 6.4 percent after falling 4.9 percent in December.

—Machinery orders fell 0.4 percent after gaining 0.5 percent the previous month.

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