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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Inventory Accumulation Regained Momentum
by Tom Moeller June 2, 2006

Factory inventories rose 0.7% during April after an upwardly revised 0.9% gain during March. The back to back two-month gains were the strongest since early last year. Historical figures in this MSIO report were very much revised.

Machinery inventories rose 0.6% (4.9% y/y) while inventories of computers & electronic products rose 1.2% (6.3% y/y) after a 2.9% March rise. Inventories of electrical equipment rose 0.6% (6.5% y/y) though inventories of furniture & related products fell 0.2% (5.0% y/y) after the 2.1% jump during March. Primary metals inventories rose 1.2% (1.5% y/y).

Total factory orders gave back half of the prior month's jump with a 1.8% decline. Durable goods orders fell 4.4% and that was little revised from the advance report of a 4.8% slide. Factory orders less transportation rose 0.2% (7.9% y/y).

Factory shipments were unchanged following the 1.0% spike in March. Less transportation shipments added 0.6% (6.9% y/y) to the 0.9% March increase. Petroleum shipments rose 3.5% (20.5% y/y). Factory shipments less transportation & petroleum rose 0.3% (5.4% y/y).

Unfilled orders increased another 1.5% due to a 3.7% (74.1% y/y) jump in civilian aircraft. Less the transportation sector altogether backlogs still rose a strong 1.1% (13.7% y/y).

Factory Survey (NAICS) April Mar Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Inventories 0.7% 0.9% 3.4% 4.0% 6.9% -7.4%
New Orders -1.8% 4.0% 8.7% 8.5% 7.5% 0.9%
Shipments 0.0% 1.0% 6.0% 7.1% 6.8% 0.2%
Unfilled Orders 1.5% 3.0% 22.8% 16.3% 4.5% -1.0%
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