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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Sharply Increase And Inventories Build
by Tom Moeller January 4, 2012

Manufacturing orders jumped an expected 1.8% (11.6% y/y) during November following a little-revised 0.2% October slip. Higher orders for durable goods powered the increase with a 3.7% rise, roughly unchanged from the advance report. This gain owed to a three-quarters rise in commercial aircraft. Nondurable goods orders, which equal shipments, rose 0.3% (11.1% y/y). A 1.3% increase (14.3% y/y) in apparel was behind the rise along with a 1.0% gain (25.2% y/y) in petroleum shipments. Offsetting these were a 0.2% decline (+9.3% y/y) in food products and a 0.4% decline (+2.4% y/y) in textile mills.

Unfilled orders jumped 1.3% (7.0% y/y) led by a 1.4% rise (5.0% y/y) in transportation equipment. Less transportation, backlogs rose 1.0% (12.1% y/y) led by machinery (28.0% y/y) and electrical equipment (18.1% y/y). Order backlogs of furniture rose just 1.4% y/y.

Inventories in the factory sector increased another 0.5% (10.9% y/y) during November as durable goods inventories rose 0.6% (11.3% y/y). Transportation inventories rose 15.9% y/y while inventories of machinery rose 13.3% y/y. Nondurables inventories rose 0.3% (10.2% y/y) reflecting a 26.9% jump in oil. Apparel inventories also were strong and rose 0.9% (20.4% y/y) but basic chemicals fell 1.1% (+8.2% y/y).

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

Factory Sector - NAICS Classification (%) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Orders 1.8 -0.2 -0.1 11.6 12.9 -21.7 0.5
Shipments 0.0 0.5 0.3 10.2 8.6 -18.5 2.3
Inventories 0.5 0.9 0.1 10.9 8.7 -6.8 -2.1
Unfilled Orders 1.3 0.4 0.6 7.9 3.9 -15.2 4.3
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