Durable Goods Orders Hit a Record-High Increase — Thanks to This One Company

Durable goods orders skyrocketed for the month of July, according to Census data released Tuesday, climbing higher in one month than they’ve ever climbed since monthly data began being published in 1992.

The growth was driven enormously by one company: aircraft giant Boeing.

Japan’s air carrier All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) Boeing 787-9 takes off Tokyo’s Haneda airport for the world’s first passenger flight with Japanese and American children on August 4, 2014. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

According to the report, durable goods orders surged 22.6 percent in July, a figure that Business Insider noted beat some expectations, but that growth was fueled entirely by one sector — transportation, in which orders rose 74.2 percent — and particularly by non-defense aircraft orders.

In fact, when transportation orders were excluded from consideration, durable goods orders actually fell by 0.8 percent.

The durable goods surge shows the enormous economic pull of Boeing.

As the Seattle Times reported:

Boeing booked 324 orders in July, the largest sales figure it has ever booked in a single calendar month, giving the jet maker a total of 823 net orders so far this year.


In another boost for Boeing, data released [Aug. 7] by the company shows that United Airlines traded up a previous order for seven 787-8 Dreamliners for seven of the larger, more expensive 787-10s.

Based on real market pricing data from aircraft-valuation firm Avitas, that switch is worth nearly $200 million to Boeing.

However, MarketWatch added a word of caution to accompany the record-high durable goods order increase:

Orders for durable goods can gyrate from month to month, but bookings so far in 2014 show that businesses continue to spend at a moderate pace that’s somewhat below the historical norm at this stage of an economic recovery. Orders have climbed 4.3% through the first seven months of this year compared to the same period in 2013.

Nor do the record orders for Boeing jets help the economy much in the short run. Planes ordered today may not be assembled for months or years to come.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter