Jun 25, 2021 - Economy

Census report shows businesses are investing in themselves

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new Census report on durable goods orders released Thursday confirms businesses are confident — and they’re spending money on themselves.

Why it matters: Core capital goods orders, or those for durable goods that aren’t aircraft or defense-related, collapsed in 2020 amid the pandemic. Now companies are spending again — on themselves as well as on share buybacks and M&A.

By the numbers: The May report showed core orders unexpectedly eased — barely — by 0.1% to $75.2 billion, missing economists’ expectations for a 0.6% gain.

  • However, that level of orders is a whopping 16% above pre-pandemic levels. It was at $66.5 billion in March 2020.

What they’re saying: "The underlying trend in core orders is still rising strongly," Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson said. "Don’t worry about the reported 0.1% dip in May core capital goods orders; it followed a huge 2.7% jump in April."

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