Demand for transport equipment increased 3.3 percent in December (vs 3.4 percent in November), led by civilian aircraft (28.4 percent vs 4.5 percent) and motor vehicles and parts (2.1 percent vs 0.4 percent), while orders for defense aircraft and parts fell sharply (-30.5 percent vs 29 percent). Demand also rose for fabricated metal products (0.3 percent vs 1.9 percent). Meanwhile, orders for computers and electronic products were unchanged (vs 0.2 percent in November) while decreases were recorded in demand for primary metals (-0.9 percent vs 1.5 percent), machinery (-0.4 percent vs -1.9 percent) and electrical equipment, appliances, and components (-0.1 percent vs -2.5 percent).
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 0.7 percent in December, after falling 1 percent in November.
Excluding transportation, new orders edged up 0.1 percent (vs -0.2 percent in November). Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.8 percent (vs unchanged in November).
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in December, up four of the last five months, increased $2.1 billion or 0.8 percent to $259.7 billion. This followed a 1.0 percent November increase. Transportation equipment, also up four of the last five months, led the increase, $1.4 billion or 1.5 percent to $91.4 billion.
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in December, down three consecutive months, decreased $1.1 billion or 0.1 percent to $1,180.1 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent November decrease. Transportation equipment, also down three consecutive months, drove the decrease, $1.2 billion or 0.1 percent to $811.1 billion.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in December, up twenty-three of the last twenty-four months, increased $0.9 billion or 0.2 percent to $414.7 billion. This followed a 0.4 percent November increase. Primary metals, up twenty-five of the last twenty-six months, led the increase, $0.4 billion or 1.1 percent to $36.6 billion.
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in December increased $2.8 billion or 3.7 percent to $77.8 billion. Shipments increased $0.4 billion or 0.5 percent to $80.0 billion. Unfilled orders decreased $2.2 billion or 0.3 percent to $708.1 billion. Inventories increased $0.5 billion or 0.3 percent to $181.5 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods in December decreased $1.0 billion or 7.0 percent to $13.3 billion. Shipments increased $0.5 billion or 4.1 percent to $12.5 billion. Unfilled orders increased $0.8 billion or 0.5 percent to $157.1 billion. Inventories decreased $0.2 billion or 1.0 percent to $22.7 billion