Durable goods orders plunged 5.9 percent in March, which raised fears that we might be in for another "spring swoon" after a promising winter. But the April report (PDF) shows a 3.3 percent increase—well above consensus expectations.
This is generally a noisy data series, so people look to nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft parts for a more stable read of underlying economic activity. That index rose 0.9 percent in March and then 1.2 percent in April.* Not wild boom times but, again, no sign of a spring swoon. There are going to be plenty of job losses directly related to sequestration over the next several months, but the private sector is chugging along pretty nicely.
Correction, May 24, 2013: This post originally said orders on nondefense capital goods rose 1.3 percent in April.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.