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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Inventory Gain Slowed
by Tom Moeller October 4, 2006

Factory inventories rose 0.4% last month, half the upwardly revised gain during July. Nevertheless, the y/y rate of accumulation was at its highest since early 2005.

Primary metals inventories again were firm and rose 1.4% (11.7% y/y) after an upwardly revised 2.1% increase during July. Growth in inventories of computers & electronic products slowed to 0.4% (8.5% y/y) from a 0.9% July gain but inventories of electrical equipment jumped another 1.5% (12.9% y/y). Machinery inventories rose 0.3% (4.5% y/y).

Total factory orders fell slightly after a deepened 1.0% July decline. Durable goods orders fell just slightly and that was a bit better than the 0.5% decline that was in the advance report of a 0.5% drop. Factory orders less transportation fell 0.7% (+5.5% y/y) after a 0.6% July gain.

Factory shipments surged 1.1%on the strength of a 6.0% jump in transportation. Less transportation shipments rose 0.4% (6.9% y/y) despite lower petroleum shipments. Factory shipments less transportation & petroleum rose a strong 0.9% (6.7% y/y).

Unfilled orders rose 0.4% last month and less the transportation sector backlogs rose 0.3% (13.8% y/y).

Factory Survey (NAICS) August July Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Inventories 0.4% 0.8% 6.5% 4.0% 6.9% -7.4%
New Orders -0.0% -1.0% 4.6% 8.5% 7.5% 0.9%
Shipments 1.1% -0.1% 6.1% 7.1% 6.8% 0.2%
Unfilled Orders 0.4% 1.2% 18.5% 16.3% 4.5% -1.0%
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