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Adapted from FRED and Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Manufactured durable goods orders rose 11.2% in July, far outpacing economists' expectations, and jumping for the third straight month. July's unexpected increase followed a 7.7% gain for durable goods in June.

What happened: The boom was largely the result of vehicle purchases, as orders for new cars and trucks jumped 22% after a nearly 24% gain the previous month.

  • Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.4%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 9.9%. Transportation equipment, also up three consecutive months, led the increase, up 35.6%.

Between the lines: The 11.2% increase for durable goods overall was especially strong, but in terms of actual sales durable goods orders remain depressed, and at $239.7 billion have only returned to August 2017 levels.

  • Auto sales have been surprisingly strong thanks to low interest rates and discounted pricing by dealers, but as Axios' Joann Muller notes the surge in demand has led to a seller's market with "fewer choices and higher prices" for consumers.
  • Sales to corporate customers are still low and demand usually wanes in the fall, meaning it could be tough to get back to early 2020 levels.

Of note: Airline orders only declined half as much in July as they did in June, reflecting fewer cancellations.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Why the real estate boom could keep going for years

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even after reaching all-time high average prices and sales numbers not seen since the height of the 2000s boom, the housing market still has lots of room to run, experts say.

What's happening: There were fears in late 2019 and early this year that price levels had outpaced income growth and become unsustainable — but record-low mortgage rates and promises by the Fed to keep U.S. interest rates at zero through at least 2023 have lit a new fire under the market.

U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The economy added 379,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate dropped from 6.3% to 6.2%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: The first Biden-era jobs report shows hiring surged as coronavirus cases eased — though a full recovery remains far off. Economists expected the economy to add roughly 182,000 jobs last month, after adding a paltry 49,000 in January.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Workers are getting a really bad deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This week's spate of data highlighted the difficulties Americans who have lost their jobs have had bouncing back from the coronavirus pandemic, and just how much those who have managed to keep their jobs have been working.

What's happening: The Labor Department reported Thursday that the productivity of American workers fell by a revised 4.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the largest decline in 39 years.

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