Orders for durable goods were unchanged in May, as orders for airplanes and defense goods offset weaker demand for machinery and metals. Economists were expecting a decline of 1.0% for the month. It is the second straight monthly decline, but, considering orders remain unchanged since January, some economists were quickly questioning if the U.S. economy would experience a recession.

Orders for core capital equipment, equipment businesses invest in to expand or update their productive capacity, fell 0.8% in May after a downwardly revised 3.1% increase in April. Core capital equipment orders, which exclude aircraft and non-defense goods, are the best monthly indicator of capital expenditures.

Orders for machinery dropped 5.3%, reversing April’s 5.1% gain. Orders for primary metals fell 1.3%, while orders for fabricated metals increased by 0.1%.

Orders for transportation goods rose 2.6%, including a 10.3% rise in civilian aircraft orders. Orders for electrical equipment rose 1.5% after a double-digit gain in April.

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