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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rebound
by Tom Moeller  June 24, 2011

New orders for durable goods improved 1.9% last month following an April decline of 2.7%, initially reported as -3.6%. The latest increase matched Consensus expectations. Transportation sector orders rebounded 5.8% (14.7% y/y) as bookings for aircraft & parts jumped by one-quarter (26.2% y/y). Orders for motor vehicles & parts ticked up all of 0.6% after April's 5.3% decline due to the earthquake in Japan.

Outside of the transportation sector, orders improved a slight 0.6% after the 0.4% April downtick. The y/y gain of 7.2% compares to 18.5% this time last year. Electrical machinery orders rose 3.2% (6.6% y/y) and machinery orders rose 1.2% (11.2% y/y). Orders for computers rose 1.3% (8.0% y/y) and reversed all of April's decline, but that y/y gain compares to 30.0% growth last summer. In the capital goods sector the trend gain has weakened, much of that due to commercial aircraft where orders have been roughly unchanged for a year. Excluding aircraft, orders jumped 1.6% last month, though the 10.5% y/y increase is half that this time last year.

Shipments of durable goods inched up 0.3% last month after April's 1.4% drop. The 6.2% y/y growth equaled that of 2010 and roughly equaled the gain in production of durable goods. Shipments of motor vehicles and parts rose 10.4% y/y. Less transportation altogether, the 6.3% y/y gain is half that early in 2010.

As the level of orders remained higher than shipments, unfilled orders continued to rise. The 0.9% May increase pulled them up 6.3% y/y. Less transportation the gain is a stronger 13.6% due to a one-third surge in machinery and a one-quarter jump in electrical equipment. The rate of inventory accumulation remained a strong 1.2% last month (13.0% y/y).

The durable goods figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The expectation figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Durable Goods NAICS Classification (%) May Apr Mar Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Orders 1.9 -2.7 4.6 9.0 15.4 -27.3 -6.3
  Excluding Transportation 0.6 -0.4 2.6 7.2 14.1 -23.2 -1.5
Nondefense Capital Goods 5.8 -5.6 5.0 14.1 28.0 -31.0 -8.4
  Excluding Aircraft 1.6 -0.8 5.4 10.5 17.2 -20.4 -1.2
Shipments 0.3 -1.4 3.1 6.2 6.2 -20.4 -2.8
  Excluding Transportation 0.5 -0.7 2.5 6.3 8.7 -21.0 -0.1
Inventories 1.2 1.2 1.7 13.0 9.9 -9.0 -0.2
  Excluding Transportation 1.0 1.3 1.4 11.2 7.6 -12.8 -0.7
Unfilled Orders 0.9 0.5 0.7 6.3 3.9 -15.2 4.3
  Excluding Transportation 1.1 1.1 0.7 13.6 11.6 -12.5 -2.1
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