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Economy in Brief

US Factory Shipments & Inventories Strong
by Tom Moeller October 4, 2004

Shipments out of the US manufacturing sector surged another 1.1% in August pulling the total 13.4% ahead of last year. Strength has been widespread. Less the volatile transportation sector shipments rose 0.5% (14.1% y/y) after an upwardly revised 1.7% gain in July and less petroleum these shipments rose 12.0% y/y.

Strength in shipments has been notable in primary metals (+37.2% y/y); machinery (+17.9% y/y); and electrical equipment (+10.9% y/y).

Unfilled orders rose a modest 0.3% and the ratio of unfilled orders to shipments fell to an all time low, confirming the indication from the PMI vendor performance measure that supply bottlenecks are few.

Factory inventory accumulation continued in high gear as they rose 0.5% in August after an upwardly revised 1.0% July gain.

Factory orders fell 0.1% in August. Durable goods orders were off 0.3% and that was little revised from the advance report which was dominated by a 35.1% drop in aircraft.Less transportation durable orders rose 2.8% m/m (13.8% y/y). Non-durable goods orders (which equal shipments) rose 0.2% (13.1% y/y) following a 1.3% July spurt.

Factory Survey (NAICS) Aug July Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Inventories 0.5% 1.0% 4.8% -1.3% -1.8% -6.1%
New Orders -0.1% 1.7% 12.5% 3.7% -1.9% -6.7%
Shipments 1.1% 0.9% 13.4% 2.6% -2.0% -5.4%
Unfilled Orders 0.3% 1.2% 9.3% 4.2% -6.1% -5.9%
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