Inside a Best Buy Store Ahead Of Durable Good Orders Data
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON -- Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter.

The Commerce Department said Thursday durable goods orders increased 2.6 percent as demand rose across all categories. Durable goods, which range from toasters to aircraft and are meant to last three years and more, increased 2.1 percent in February.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast orders rising 2 percent last month.

U.S. Treasury debt prices extended losses on the data, while the dollar rose against the euro.

The report fit in with other data such as industrial production, retail sales and employment, that have suggested the economy gained steam after a troubled first quarter.

Growth in the first three months of the year is forecast to have braked sharply, because of an abnormally cold winter and an inventory overhang from last year that forced businesses to place fewer orders for goods with manufacturers.

The end of long-term unemployment benefits and cuts to food stamps have also robbed the economy of momentum.

First-quarter gross domestic product growth is estimated around a 1.5 percent annual rate. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter.

The durable goods report showed non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, increased 2.2 percent in March after falling 1.1 percent the prior month.

Economists had expected orders for these so-called core capital goods to increase 1.5 percent last month.

Core capital goods shipments rose 1 percent last month. Shipments of core capital goods are used to calculate equipment spending in the government's GDP measurement. They had increased 0.7 percent in February.

Jobless Claims Rise

A separate report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 for the week ended April 19.

The second straight week of gains, which exceeded economists' expectations for a rise only to 310,000, probably reflected difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations given a late Easter this year.

"It's largely reflective of the effect from the Easter holiday. We are not that concerned," said Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. "[Claims] have been on a declining track since December and consistent with the employment gains we have seen," he added.

The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose only 4,750 to 316,750. That was not too far from pre-recession levels.

The number of Americans still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid in the week ended April 12 was the lowest since December 2007. That period covered the household survey week from which the unemployment rate is calculated.

The decline suggests the unemployment rate could fall in April from 6.7 percent in March.

The durable goods report showed orders for transportation equipment increased 4 percent last month. That reflected a surge in civilian aircraft orders after Boeing orders more than doubled in March to 163.

Orders for motor vehicles rose 0.4 percent after gaining 4.3 percent the prior month. Orders excluding transportation increased 2 percent, the largest rise since January last year.

There were gains in orders for machinery, fabricated metal products and electrical equipment, appliances and components. Orders for computers and electronic products recorded their largest increase since November 2010.

-Additional reporting by Richard Leong in New York.


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drpmindmender

Another day, with the same, meaningless people, making their same, meaningless comments, which reflect their endlessly meaningless existences.

April 24 2014 at 7:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drpmindmender's comment
dopey.obamite

And you can kiss my backside. This article proves I was right a couple of weeks ago about the way daily finamce reports the weekly jobless claims. I observed that when it is a decrease, they typically put it in the headline on the front page. When there is an increase in claims, like there is this week, they either bury it on the back pages, or in another story...also like they did this week.

You got all sideways over it and tried telling me it never happens. Well fuggoff.

April 24 2014 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to dopey.obamite's comment
alfrankenfool

More purchases may have happened. The cause, just look at the quality of the appliances made today, you're lucky if they last 10 years.

April 24 2014 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dopey.obamite

Why didn't the jump of 24,000 of jobless claims get the headline?

April 24 2014 at 11:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dopey.obamite

So if the big freeze hindered orders and activity in Q1, wouldn't it stand to reason businesses are playing catch up in the thaw of Q2?

April 24 2014 at 11:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
createidea

WASHINGTON -- Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter.....

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 24 2014 at 9:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply