Orders of durable goods down 1 percent since January

Consumer spending on items like cars, furniture, electronics, and home appliances fell from the previous month but is still 9 percent higher than a year ago.

This chart shows the number of orders of durable goods from 1992 through last month. The number has declined slightly since December 2010 and is about at the same level as it was in the fall of 2008.

Today’s Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders report indicated that total new orders declined 0.9% from January to $199,993 billion while excluding transportation, new orders declined 0.6% to $149,821 billion.

Stripping durable goods orders of defense orders AND non-defense aircraft orders yields an effective measure of orders coming as a direct result of typical discretionary consumer durable goods spending on items such as motor vehicles, furniture, consumer electronic devices and home appliances.

Looking at the latest release, "discretionary" durable goods orders declined 0.78% since January but still remaining 9.42% above the level seen in February 2010.

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