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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rebounded
by Tom Moeller May 25, 2005

New orders for durable goods rebounded 1.9% in April following three consecutive months of decline. Consensus expectations had been for a 1.2% rise. Year to date orders are down 1.1%.

An 8.2% jump in orders for transportation equipment pulled the April total up and reflected a 28.2% (18.5% y/y) rise in nondefense aircraft & parts as well as a 3.4% (-5.0% y/y) gain in motor vehicles & parts. Less transportation durable orders fell 0.2% (+6.8% y/y), marking the third month of roughly sideways movement.

With a 3.8% jump, orders for non-defense capital goods recovered all of the prior month's decline. A 1.6% gain in orders less aircraft also recovered most of March's drop but that decline was lessened considerably. Computer & electronic product orders fell 5.8% (+6.8% y/y) following a 4.7% jump in March that was double the gain initially estimated. Machinery orders rose 2.2% and recovered nearly half the prior month's drop while electrical equipment orders rose 3.4% after two months of sharp decline.

Shipments of durables rose 1.6% (6.4% y/y). Orders outside of transportation increased 1.0% (8.3% y/y) due to a 1.5% (9.3% y/y) increase in machinery shipments and a 1.9% jump (5.2% y/y) in electrical equipment.

Durable inventories ticked just 0.1% (9.2% y/y) higher causing the I/S ratio to drop sharply. Less transportation the I/S ratio has moved sideways in a narrow range since early last year.

Unfilled orders were roughly unchanged (+6.2% y/y). The ratio of backlogs to shipments fell sharply to the low end of the year's range.

NAICS Classification April March Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Durable Goods Orders 1.9% -1.6% 4.3% 10.8% 2.6% -1.7%
Nondefense Capital Goods 3.8% -3.2% 10.1% 13.7% 5.6% -7.2%
Excluding Aircraft 1.6% -1.6% 9.3% 11.7% 6.6% -7.1%
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