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.