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Economy in Brief

US Factory Orders & Shipments Down
by Tom Moeller November 3, 2004

Factory orders fell 0.4% after a 0.3% August decline. Durable goods orders rose 0.2% and that was unrevised from the advance report. The advance report of a 2.6% rise in nondefense capital goods orders less aircraft was revised up slightly to a 2.8% (9.0% y/y).

Shipments out of the US manufacturing sector tumbled 1.1% in September due to broad based industry declines. Shipments of computers & electronic products plunged 3.5% (+8.3% y/y) and electrical equipment shipments skid 3.3% (+5.1% y/y).

Unfilled orders rose another 0.8% and the ratio of unfilled orders to shipments for durables rose sharply suggesting that supply bottlenecks started to emerge.

Factory inventory accumulation moderated to 0.3% following an upwardly revised 0.7% August gain. The inventory to sales ratio in the factory sector rose to its highest since February.

Factory Survey (NAICS) Sept Aug Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Inventories 0.3% 0.7% 5.7% -1.3% -1.8% -6.1%
New Orders -0.4% -0.3% 10.3% 3.7% -1.9% -6.7%
Shipments -1.1% 0.9% 10.0% 2.6% -2.0% -5.4%
Unfilled Orders 0.8% 0.3% 9.6% 4.2% -6.1% -5.9%
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