By Robert Hughes
New orders for durable goods posted a fourth consecutive month of rebound in August, rising 0.4 percent following a gain of 11.7 percent in July, 7.7 percent in June, and 15.0 percent in May. The gains followed drops of 18.3 percent in April and 16.7 percent in March. Durable-goods orders excluding aircraft and parts fell 0.8 percent for the month following gains of 8.3 percent in July and 15.8 percent in June. That puts the level of orders at $231.3 billion, within the $225 to $235 billion range they have been in since mid-2018 (see first chart).
New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for business equipment investment, rose 1.8 percent in August after gaining 2.5 percent in July, putting the level at $67.7 billion. This important category had been in the peak $65 to $70 billion range for several periods over the past