The economy is ending the year in a holiday spirit, with orders for long-lasting manufactured goods surging in November, the government reported Tuesday.
Gains came across the board, with the Commerce Department saying orders for non-defense capital goods, which economists consider a harbinger of business spending plans, rising 4.5 percent. That is the largest increase since January.
"It's a holly, jolly data Christmas for the economy as all signs point to an accelerating economy," said economist Joel Naroff in an email to clients.
The data come barely a week after the Federal Reserve Board decided to trim its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion, from $85 billion a month to $75 billion, citing improving economic conditions. Third-quarter GDP was also recently revised upward to 4.1 percent in yet another sign the economy is gaining steam approaching 2014.
"Things seemed to have turned now," a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C., told Reuters.
Many economists had suggested that businesses were taking a wait-and-see attitude toward spending as long as Congress remained unsettled about a budget and amid the continued threat of a government shutdown in the new year. That ended with the recent bipartisan deal to enact a budget that lasts until 2015.
A booming stock market, which rose on the durable goods news in a shortened holiday session, robust home sales and increasingly positive consumer sentiment also add to the economic good tidings at year-end. Perhaps the only downer are reports that holiday spending is only modest this year so far.