US durable goods orders show modest 0.2% December gain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose a modest 0.2% in December, held back by a big drop in the volatile aircraft sector. A key category that tracks business investment decisions slowed.

The rise in orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, followed much stronger increases of 1.2% November and 1.8% in October, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Orders for commercial aircraft, hard hit because of the sharp drop in air travel during the pandemic fell 51.8% in December.

A category that covers business investment plans rose 0.6% but this was slower than gains in the previous two months.