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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Inventories Jumped in January
by Tom Moeller March 4, 2005

Factory inventories jumped 1.3% in January led higher by broad based industry gains. Less petroleum which jumped 8.6% (18.3% y/y), inventories increased 1.0% (8.1% y/y).

Shipments out of the factory sector surged 1.4% but were notable for primary metals (32.0% y/y), machinery (20.6% y/y), computers & electronics (11.1% y/y) and chemicals (11.7% y/y).

Orders to the factory sector rose 0.2%. The advance report of a 0.9% decline in durable goods was revised deeper to 1.3% (+11.4% y/y). Nondefense capital goods orders less aircraft was unrevised at +2.9% (17.1% y/y).

Unfilled orders fell 0.2% for the first decline in a year. Fewer supply bottlenecks were indicated as the ratio of unfilled orders to shipments for durables fell sharply for the second month.

Factory Survey (NAICS) Jan Dec Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Inventories 1.3% 0.1% 8.5% 7.5% -1.3% -1.8%
New Orders 0.2% 0.5% 11.3% 10.9% 3.7% -1.9%
Shipments 1.4% 1.2% 11.7% 10.5% 2.6% -2.0%
Unfilled Orders -0.2% 0.5% 8.9% 9.1% 4.2% -6.1%
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