New orders for US durable manufactured goods rose solidly in July, lifted by automobiles, and the June gain was revised sharply higher, official data released Wednesday showed.
Durable goods orders rose 2.0 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted $241.1 billion, the Commerce Department said, compared to a 0.6 percent decline expected by analysts.
That marked the second straight month of increases in orders for goods expected to last at least three years, such as computers, trains and home appliances.
The June rise was much stronger than previously estimated, 4.1 percent rather the 3.4 percent gain originally reported.
Transportation orders also were up for a second month in a row, by 4.7 percent, leading the overall increase. Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 4.0 percent, offsetting declines in commercial and defense aircraft orders.
Excluding transportation, which tends to be volatile month-over-month, durable goods orders were up 0.6 percent, following a 1.0 percent rise in June previously reported at 0.8 percent.
New orders for nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft, jumped 2.2 percent, after a 1.4 percent rise in June. That indicates that the drop in equipment spending in the oil sector has ended, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
"The rising underlying trend in non-oil spending is now becoming the dominant force again," Shepherdson said.
"We can't rule out a renewed downshift in oil firms' spending, given the recent drop in oil prices, but it will not be of the same order of magnitude as the plunge over the past year."