While soaring civilian aircraft (up 105 percent) lifted overall manufacturing orders in September, other manufacturers remained grounded last month. (Commerce Department news release.) New orders for durable goods rose by 3.3 percent in September.
However, outside transportation, new orders fell by 0.8 percent, the second decline in the past three months. Moreover, the drop in new orders for primary and fabricated metals, computer and electronic products as well as motor vehicles for the second time in the past three months is a concerning sign for manufacturers. The growth in manufacturing production was cut in half in the third quarter from the pace of growth in the first half of the year.
Outside of aircraft, the only silver lining in today’s report is that new orders for machinery rose for a second consecutive month in September. Since machinery is one of the most export-oriented manufacturing industries, this is encouraging news for the export recovery that has been slowing in recent months.
Overall, today’s report signals that a further slowdown in the fourth quarter is likely to be in the making.