We are seeing a few April economic numbers filter in, but most of the reports are about March when the country just started to shut down the economy. The March Durable Goods report top-line number was supposed to be down 12.8% but was actually down 14.4%. The second-largest drop ever recorded. The reason for the big slump is mostly because of airplanes and autos whose sales plummeted.
What was interesting about the report was the core capital goods orders which targeted as falling 7%. The actual number rose .1%, but most experts expect that to be just an anomaly and not to be repeated.
As a reminder, durable goods are those items that are expensive and last at least three years. The reason it is important is that it gauges the confidence people and companies have in the economy. They tend not to spend on big-ticket items if they think sales and salaries are going to be under stress.
There was one area where spending actually increased and that was for communications equipment, the result of people working from home.