WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Durable goods orders rose for the third time in four months in November, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Following October's 0.7 percent decline, fresh orders for big-ticket manufactured goods rose 3.5 percent or $8.2 billion to $241.6 billion.
Transportation, as it often does, made up most of the difference. Of the $8.2 billion increase in November, $6.3 billion was provided by transportation items, which include planes, trains, trucks, jets and ships -- the biggest of the big ticket items.
And of the $6.3 billion increase in orders for transportation items, $3.9 billion was in the category of commercial aircraft.
Shipments of durable goods rose for the fourth consecutive month, climbing by $4.1 billion to $238.3 billion. Of that, $1.5 billion represented an increase in shipments of machinery, which pushed the total for machinery shipments to $35.6 billion.
Unfilled orders rose 1 percent in the month or by $10.5 billion to nearly $1.059 trillion.
Economists also look closely at capital goods orders, which -- aside from being large items in their own right -- represent businesses investing in themselves -- a printing shop orders a new printing press, for example.
Orders for non-defense related capital goods jumped 9.4 percent in November to $88 billion. Shipments of capital goods rose by 1.3 percent to $75 billion. And unfilled capital goods orders rose by 2.1 percent to $636.6 billion, the department said.