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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Retrace Earlier Gain
by Tom Moeller  February 28, 2012

New orders for durable goods slumped 4.0% last month after a revised 3.2% December increase, originally reported as 3.0%. Consensus expectations had been for a 1.0% fall. However, the latest decline ran counter to the ISM orders series which rose last month to its highest since last April.

A 6.1% decline (+15.2% y/y) in transportation orders paced last month's total decline as non-defense aircraft & parts orders fell 19.0% (+123.3% y/y). Outside of the transportation sector orders also were weak and fell 3.2% (+5.7% y/y). Machinery bookings slumped 10.4% (+4.4% y/y), primary metals orders fell 6.7% (+19.1% y/y) and orders for electrical equipment dropped 1.9% (+4.5% y/y). These declines were offset by a 0.8% rise (-4.0% y/y) in computers & electronic equipment.

Shipments of durable goods ticked up 0.4% (8.9% y/y) last month. However, less the transportation sector shipments fell 1.1% (+8.3% y/y) due mostly to lower machinery shipments. Inventories rose another 0.7% (10.4% y/y) led by a 2.8% rise (6.2% y/y) in electrical equipment. Unfilled orders increased 0.5% (9.4% y/y) paced by a 0.5% gain (24.3% y/y) in machinery.

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

Durable Goods NAICS Classification (%) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Orders -4.0 3.2 4.2 8.1 10.1 15.4 -27.3
 Nondefense Capital Goods -6.3 6.8 9.3 20.0 14.5 28.0 -31.0
   Excluding Aircraft -4.5 3.4 -1.5 5.9 10.2 17.2 -20.4
Shipments 0.4 1.9 -0.2 8.9 8.0 6.2 -20.4
Inventories 0.7 0.3 0.5 10.4 10.7 9.9 -9.0
Unfilled Orders 0.5 1.5 1.3 9.4 9.7 3.9 -15.2
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