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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Rebound
by Tom Moeller  August 31, 2011

Manufacturing orders jumped 2.4% during July after a revised 0.4% June slip. Consensus expectations were for a 1.8% gain. For durable goods only orders rose 4.1% which roughly equaled the gain in the advance report. Nondurable goods orders, which equal shipments, rose 1.0% (17.7% y/y), paced by a 4.0% rise (48.6% y/y in shipments from oil refineries with higher prices. Shipments of food products rose 0.8% (11.8% y/y) and paper products ticked up 0.3% (-0.8% y/y). Apparel shipments fell 0.8% (+3.6% y/y).

Inventories in the factory sector rose 0.5% (12.8% y/y) during July after an upwardly revised 0.4% June gain. Durable goods inventories rose 0.9% (12.7% y/y) with the strength in transportation, metals and machinery. Nondurables inventories slipped 0.1% (+13.0% y/y) due to a 1.8% drop (+39.5% y/y) in oil refineries. Apparel inventories jumped 2.4% (20.1% y/y) and basic chemicals inched up 0.2% (8.6% y/y).

Growth in unfilled orders rebounded 0.8%. The modest 7.1% y/y gain still masks, however, the strength of a 13.6% rise in backlogs less the transportation sector. It was led by a one-third rise in backlogs of machinery and a 19.8% gain in electrical equipment, appliances & components. Transportation industry backlogs rose 0.7% and just 2.8% y/y.

The factory sector figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The expectation figure is in AS1REPNA.

Yield Curve and Predicted GDP Growth from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is available here.

Factory Sector - NAICS Classification (%) Jul Jun May Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Orders 2.4 -0.4 0.6 13.9 12.9 -17.7 0.5
Shipments 1.6 0.6 -0.0 12.6 8.6 -18.5 2.3
Inventories 0.5 0.4 0.8 12.8 8.7 -6.8 -2.1
Unfilled Orders 0.8 0.3 0.9 7.1 3.9 -15.2 4.3
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