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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Inventories Back on the Rise, Order Backlogs Surged
by Tom Moeller December 6, 2005

Factory inventories in October rose 0.6% following an upwardly revised 0.1% up tick in September. Less petroleum, the 0.4% (3.9% y/y) rise in factory inventories was the strongest since February.

The October inventory gain was led by a 11.4% rise in motor vehicles but additionally reflected a 0.4% (4.1% y/y) increase in electrical equipment and a 0.5% (-1.1% y/y) rise in computers & electronic products. Nondurables inventories rose 0.9% (4.9% y/y) and less petroleum, the 0.5% (+2.7% y/y) rise in nondurable inventories was the first in four months.

Factory shipments recovered 1.0% and factory sector orders surged 2.2%. The advance report of a 3.4% jump in durables goods orders was revised to 3.7%.

Unfilled orders jumped 1.6% and pulled the year to year gain to a near record 12.1%. Less the transportation sector backlogs continued strong and surged 1.1% (9.8% y/y) while the ratio of total unfilled orders to shipments rose further to the highest level since 2002.

Factory Survey (NAICS) Oct Sept Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Inventories 0.6% 0.1% 4.7% 7.7% -1.1% -5.4%
New Orders 2.2% -1.4% 9.0% 9.3% 3.5% -2.5%
Shipments 1.0% -0.4% 6.5% 9.5% 1.5% -2.5%
Unfilled Orders 1.6% 0.6% 12.1% 8.4% 8.0% -8.5%
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