Demand for long-lasting “durable” goods fell a seasonally adjusted 5.1% in December, marking the biggest decline in a year and a half, according to the Commerce Department and reported by MarketWatch reporter Jeffry Bartash.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 1.5% drop. The larger-than-expected decline could result in zero fourth-quarter growth or worse, some economists said. The MarketWatch forecast had called for 0.7% growth in the final three months of 2015.
The report “tilted the scale for fourth-quarter GDP, which now looks like it be in negative territory,” said Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas.
Orders for capital goods, which strip out aircraft and defense, fell 4.3% in December. For the full year they decreased 7.5%, erasing a 5.8% gain in 2015. It was the first annual decline in three years.