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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Inventory Accumulation Stalled in May
by Tom Moeller July 6, 2006

Factory inventory accumulation stalled during May but that followed an upwardly revised 1.0% April increase. Despite the latest stall, the running rate of inventory accumulation this year matches the gains in 2005.

Inventories of computers & electronic products fell 0.5% (+6.1% y/y) while inventories of electrical equipment dropped 0.3% (+6.5% y/y). Inventories of furniture & related products fell 0.3% (+4.6% y/y), the second down month, and primary metals inventories jumped 2.3% (4.0% y/y).

Total factory orders rose 0.7%, a gain led by a 1.6% jump in nondurables which reflected a 2.3% rise petroleum & coal. Less petroleum, nondurable goods orders (which equal shipments) rose 1.4% (3.1% y/y). Durable goods orders fell 0.2%, little revised from the advance report of a 0.3% slip.

Factory shipments surged 2.2% led higher by a 5.1% jump in transportation. Civilian aircraft shipments rose 19.8% (33.0% y/y). Less transportation shipments also were strong and rose 1.7% (7.7% y/y).

Unfilled orders rose another 0.6% led by a 1.5% (59.4% y/y) jump in civilian aircraft. Less the transportation sector altogether backlogs rose 0.9% (14.3% y/y).

Factory Survey (NAICS) May April Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Inventories -0.0% 1.0% 3.9% 4.0% 6.9% -7.4%
New Orders 0.7% -2.0% 4.9% 8.5% 7.5% 0.9%
Shipments 2.2% -0.1% 7.2% 7.1% 6.8% 0.2%
Unfilled Orders 0.6% 1.5% 20.7% 16.3% 4.5% -1.0%
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