WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for large manufactured goods rose for the second straight month, but the strength again came from a big increase in the volatile aircraft category. A category that tracks business investment also rose for the second straight month, though last month’s reading was revised down significantly.
Orders for durable goods — items meant to last at least three years — rose 2.1%, the Commerce Department said Monday. That follows a 1.8% gain in June, which helped to offset significant declines in May and April.
A category that serves as a proxy for business investment rose 0.4%, but last month’s gain of 1.9% was revised down to 0.9%. Economists are concerned about a slowdown in business investment orders because it could imply that companies are getting hit by an escalation in trade disputes, particularly with China.
The U.S.-China trade dispute ratcheted up again on Friday, when China announced new tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. products, deepening a conflict over trade and technology that some economists worry could tip a fragile global economy into recession.
U.S. manufacturers are facing numerous challenges, most significantly the trade showdown begun by President Donald Trump.