Durable goods orders rose 1.8% in January following two months of large declines. A sharp increase in aircraft orders distorted last month’s gains: Nondefense aircraft orders rocketed 70% higher; defense aircraft soared almost 60% higher. Outside of the volatile aircraft sector, which has long lead times to completion (years, not months or quarters), durable goods orders were much more uneven. Manufacturing, fabricated metals and computers posted solid increases in January following a weak year-end. Orders for most other categories, including the critical vehicle sector, were close to flat or down for the month.