(Reuters) New orders for key US-made capital goods increased more than expected in September and shipments rose for an eighth straight month, suggesting business spending on equipment remained robust in the third quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday non-defence capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 1.3% last month after an upwardly revised 1.3% increase in August.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast orders of these so-called core capital goods increasing 0.5% last month after a previously reported 1.1% jump in August. Core capital goods orders advanced 3.8% year-on-year.
Shipments of core capital goods climbed 0.7% after soaring 1.2% in August. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government's gross domestic product measurement.
The Commerce Department said it was unable to isolate the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the data as the survey is "designed to estimate the month-to-month change in manufacturing activity at the national level and not at specific geographic areas."
Core capital goods shipments have now increased for eight straight months. Business spending on equipment is expected to have contributed to economic growth in the third quarter, which could help to limit the drag on GDP from the hurricanes.