WASHINGTON, D.C.: New orders for US durable goods bounced back in March after a decline in February, with machinery and defense gains overcoming an automotive sector decline, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
But the first-quarter figures overall continued to show the US manufacturing sector puttering along at a slow pace, hampered by slow global growth and the impact of the strong dollar on exports.
Orders rose 0.8 percent to $230.7 billion in March, with a sharp upturn in orders for
defense aircraft leading the gain.
Automotive orders, the largest single component, were down 3.0 percent in a sign the hot US cars market could be cooling a bit.
For the first quarter, orders were up 1.4 percent over a year earlier, a still-weak pace of growth that might not show any more strength until late this year, analysts said.
“The story remains very similar to the entire last year. Durable goods orders and shipments are essentially going nowhere over longer than one-month spans,” said Michael Montgomery, US economist at IHS Global Insight.
“The March noise was a tepid positive, but the signal remains a monotonous flat hum.”