The Commerce Department reports durable goods orders fell 2.1% in April, the latest indication of a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing. Durable goods include big-ticket manufactured products like airplanes, cars and household appliances.
April’s weakness was widespread — from autos to metals and business machinery. Commercial aircraft orders declined steeply, driven by the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jet after two crashes.
Boeing has a backlog of more than 4,000 orders, but as long as the planes aren’t flying, airlines aren’t placing new orders. A number of other factors are weighing on U.S. manufacturers, including a slowdown in global growth and trade tensions with China. Manufacturing employment, meanwhile, has been stagnant since the beginning of 2019.