Orders for Boeing jets helped support US durable goods orders in June, even as the semiconductor shortage held back the auto industry

Washington (AFP) - Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods grew at a slower-than-expected pace last month in the United States, government data said Tuesday, as the computer chip shortage continued to take a toll.

The Commerce Department reported durable goods orders increased 0.8 percent in June, weaker than expected and much less than the 3.2 percent growth seen the month before, which was sharply revised up.

Durable goods orders were up 13 out of the last 14 months, the data said, and the transportation category fueled last month’s gain with a 2.1 percent overall increase.

Within that category, non-defense aircraft and parts rose 17 percent as Boeing shipped more planes.

However orders for motor vehicles and parts fell 0.3 percent as US carmakers continued to deal with shortages of semiconductors, which has forced some to idle assembly lines.

“Vehicle production and orders have been wildly erratic in recent months, and the noise is likely to persist for some time yet,” Ian Shepherdson on Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

Computers and electronic products rose despite the chip shortages, gaining one percent. Within that category, communication equipment orders rose 6.4 percent.

However orders for electrical equipment, appliances and components were flat compared to May.

Within transportation equipment, defense aircraft and parts gained 9.9 percent.