Durable goods orders unexpectedly climbed during February, but demand in the prior month was revised down deeply, an adjustment countering the idea of a rebound in the slumping manufacturing sector. Manufacturers' orders for long-lasting goods increased by 3.4% last month to a seasonally adjusted $165.56 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
The 3.4% increase was a big surprise. Wall Street expected a decline of 2.0% for February. It was the largest increase since 4.1% in December 2007. But durables, which are goods designed to last at least three years, plunged 7.3% in January, revised way down from a previously estimated 4.5% decrease. Year over year, February durables were 28.4% lower, in unadjusted terms.