Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods jump 7.3% in June

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose a solid 7.3% in June, the second big monthly gain as manufacturing tries to climb out of a spring slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic

The Commerce Department said Monday that the June gain in durable goods orders, which was better than expected, followed an even bigger 15.1% increase in May. Those two increases came after sharp declines in March and April as factories shut down.

A closely watched gauge of business investment posted a strong 3.3% increase in June after a 1.6% rise in May.

Even as factories come back to life, economists caution that manufacturing could slump again if surging cases in many parts of the country derail a broader economic rebound.

“The sugar rush from re-openings has now faded and a resurgence of domestic coronavirus cases, alongside very weak demand, supply chain disruptions ... and high levels of uncertainty will weigh heavily on business investment,” said Oren Klachkin, the lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.