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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rebound; Heavily Concentrated in Transportation
by Carol Stone  August 24, 2011

New orders for durable goods rebounded by 4.0% last month and both June and May were revised higher, June from -2.1% to -1.3% and May from 1.9% to 2.0%. The July gain was mainly in transportation; the total excluding transportation was up 0.7%, with June and May also revised upward. The Consensus forecast, at 2.4%, had anticipated some of the July rebound. The gain in transportation orders amounted to 14.6% on the month after June's 6.7% decline; July included an 11.5% increase for motor vehicles and 25.6% for aircraft, all of which involved nondefense orders.

Outside the transportation sector, orders were mixed, but generally on the weak side. Non-electrical machinery orders were off 1.5%, following -1.8% in June. Computers and other electronics saw a 3.4% decline after a 1.0% increase in June. Orders for other electrical machinery, appliances and components fell 1.8% in July and 0.3% in June. Primary metals were a major exception, as their orders rose 10.3% after a bare 0.2% increase in June. In the widely followed nondefense capital goods sector, orders were up 2.4%, almost reversing a 2.6% decline in June; that earlier figure was revised favorably from a 4.1% decline reported last month. Aircraft accounted for the entire July gain and the category excluding nondefense aircraft fell 1.5%.

Shipments of durable goods rose 2.5% and June was revised from 0.5% to 1.1%.& The performance excluding transportation seemed to improve, with a 0.9% gain in July, following 1.3% in June and 0.9% in May, which both reflected upward revisions. Factory inventories of durable goods grew 0.8% in July, including 0.5% outside the transportation sector. Unfilled orders expanded 0.7% in July and were even a bit firmer excluding transportation, at a 0.8% advance.

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

Durable Goods NAICS Classification (%) Jul Jun May Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Orders 4.0 -1.3 2.0 9.2 15.4 -27.3 -6.3
 Excluding Transportation 0.7 0.6 0.8 9.6 14.1 -23.2 -1.5
Nondefense Capital Goods 2.4 -2.6 5.4 11.3 28.0 -31.0 -8.4
 Excluding Aircraft -1.5 0.6 1.9 10.8 17.2 -20.4 -1.2
Shipments 2.5 1.1 0.5 7.0 6.2 -20.4 -2.8
 Excluding Transportation 0.9 1.3 0.9 8.8 8.7 -21.0 -0.1
Inventories 0.8 0.6 1.3 12.6 9.9 -9.0 -0.2
 Excluding Transportation 0.5 0.4 1.1 10.0 7.6 -12.8 -0.7
Unfilled Orders 0.7 0.3 0.9 7.0 3.9 -15.2 4.3
 Excluding Transportation 0.8 0.7 1.1 13.4 11.6 -12.5 -2.1
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