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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Inventories and Backlogs Up
by Tom Moeller January 4, 2006

November factory inventories rose 0.2% following an unrevised 0.6% gain in October. Less a 3.2% (+14.4% y/y) decline in petroleum, factory inventories rose 0.3% (3.3% y/y) and that y/y gain is nearly one third the rate of accumulation early in 2005.

The increase in November inventories was paced by a 1.4% (1.3% y/y) gain in computers & electronic products. Machinery inventories also rose a strong 0.5% (5.9% y/y).

Factory shipments rose a modest 0.2%, held back by a 5.7% drop in petroleum. Total factory orders surged 2.5% and the advance report of a 4.4% jump in durables goods orders was unrevised.

A 10.6% m/m surge (46.9% y/y) in unfilled orders for nondefense aircraft orders caused the total of unfilled orders to jump 1.6%. Less the transportation sector backlogs continued strong and rose 0.6% (9.6% y/y) while the ratio of total unfilled orders to shipments rose further to the highest level since 2002.

Factory Survey (NAICS) Nov Oct Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Inventories 0.2% 0.6% 3.8% 7.7% -1.1% -5.4%
New Orders 2.5% 1.7% 8.7% 9.3% 3.5% -2.5%
Shipments 0.2% 0.7% 5.7% 9.5% 1.5% -2.5%
Unfilled Orders 3.0% 1.4% 13.9% 8.4% 8.0% -8.5%
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