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Data: Census via FRED. Chart: Axios Visuals

Demand for durable goods grew to a recent record in August.

Driving the news: New orders reached $263.5 billion, the Commerce Department said on Monday, a 1.8% increase over July. Expectations were for 0.6% growth. Demand for transportation equipment drove the growth. Meanwhile, defense aircraft and parts, as well as cars and car parts, were a drag on demand.

Why it matters: “Continued strong goods demand, widespread  shortages including of labour, and low borrowing costs, suggest that the outlook for business equipment investment remains bright,” Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note Monday. 

What to watch: Shipments may not be able to keep up with new orders as shortages worsen, Pearce cautioned.

Go deeper

Service sector grew in September despite shortages, weak job gains

Data: Institute for Supply Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two more measures of economic activity released Tuesday showed expansion during the month of September. But growth was held back by the macro themes of the moment: continuing supply shortages and weak employment gains.

Driving the news: The Institute for Supply Management’s Services PMI Index (which measures all non-manufacturing activity) increased — barely — to 61.9 from 61.7 in August. Consensus expectations were for the index to decline to 60.

5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.

37 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.