By John Carney
Orders for manufactured goods were flat in August after declining one percent in the prior month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Orders for durable goods fell 0.2 percent, unrevised from the preliminary estimate. Orders for nondurable goods rose 0.2 percent compared with the prior month.
Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—considered a proxy for business investment—jumped 1.4 percent, revised up from 1.3 percent in the preliminary estimate.
Construction machinery orders dropped 1.1 percent after falling 1.4 percent in July. This reflects the slump in the housing market that saw construction spending drop for three consecutive months.
The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its barometer of factory activity slowed to 50.9 percent in September, barely hanging on to the 50 percent level that marks the difference between expansion and contraction. S&P Market Intelligence, on the other hand, said its gauge of manufacturing showed a return to growth in orders and indicated an improvement in economic conditions in September.