In yet another sign that the U.S. economic rebound is slowing, durable-goods orders rose 0.4% in August, missing the Bloomberg economist consensus of 1.5% for August and well below the July surge of 11.7%.
Capital-goods orders, excluding aircraft and military hardware, climbed 1.8% in August, decelerating from a 2.5% gain in July. Economists view that metric as an indicative reading of business investment.
The durable-goods report follows consumer spending, jobless and other numbers pointing to an economic recovery on the wane.
Economists attribute the deceleration to a spike in the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept businesses from reopening in earnest and has kept consumers at home.
The federal government’s inability to produce another fiscal stimulus package also is weighing on the economy, experts say.
JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs both trimmed their economic-growth estimates this week, Bloomberg reports.
Goldman halved its estimate of fourth-quarter GDP growth to 3% and expects a 3% contraction for 2020 as a whole.
JPMorgan now forecasts 2.5% growth for the fourth quarter, down from 3.5%. And it projects 2% growth for next year’s first quarter, down from 2.5%.
Returning to the durable-goods orders: Excluding transportation, a sometimes volatile number, new orders also increased 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.7 percent.
Machinery orders, which have risen for four consecutive months, led the increase, with a 1.5% gain.
Durable-goods shipments fell 0.3% after three straight monthly gains. Transportation equipment drove the decline, falling 1.7%, also after three consecutive monthly increases.