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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Slip
by Tom Moeller  October 3, 2011

Manufacturing orders slipped 0.2% last month, about as expected. That followed a downwardly revised 2.1% July gain, revised from 2.4%. For durable goods only orders slipped 0.1%, unchanged from the advance report. Nondurable goods orders, which equal shipments, slipped 0.3% (15.6% y/y). Petroleum shipments fell 2.5% (+40.2% y/y), and reversed the July increase as prices dropped. Offsetting that decline was a 4.3% rise in shipments of apparel (7.6% y/y).

Inventories in the factory sector rose 0.4% (12.9% y/y) during August following an upwardly revised 0.6% July gain. Durable goods inventories rose 0.9% (13.1% y/y) with continued strength in machinery, transportation and metals. Nondurables inventories fell another 0.4% (+12.8% y/y) due to a 3.4% drop (+37.9% y/y) in oil refineries. Apparel inventories jumped 1.5% (18.7% y/y) and basic chemicals rose 0.6% (9.4% y/y).

Growth in unfilled orders increased another 0.9%. The moderate 8.1% y/y gain again was powered by a 13.0% rise in backlogs less the transportation sector. It was led by a one-third rise in backlogs of machinery and an 18.4% gain in electrical equipment, appliances & components. Transportation industry backlogs rose 1.2% and 4.9% y/y.

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

Economic Outlook and Recent Monetary Action is today's Congressional testimony by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

Factory Sector - NAICS Classification (%) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Orders -0.2 2.1 -0.4 14.1 12.9 -21.7 0.5
Shipments -0.2 1.2 0.6 12.1 8.6 -18.5 2.3
Inventories 0.4 0.6 0.4 12.9 8.7 -6.8 -2.1
Unfilled Orders 0.9 0.9 0.3 8.1 3.9 -15.2 4.3
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