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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rebound
by Tom Moeller  March 28, 2012

New orders for durable goods rebounded 2.2% during February following a 3.6% January slump, originally reported as -4.0%. Consensus expectations had been for a 2.7% rise. The increase was roughly consistent with the ISM orders figure of 54.9 in February.

Transportation orders rebounded 3.9% (23.7% y/y) as non-defense aircraft & parts orders increased 6.0% (72.9% y/y) after a 17.2% January drop. Outside of the transportation sector orders rose 1.6% (8.5% y/y) following a 3.0% January decline. New orders for machinery rebounded 5.7% (13.3% y/y) after a 9.1% decline, primary metals orders rose 1.3% (29.5% y/y) after an 8.2% drop but orders for electrical equipment declined another 2.5% (-0.9% y/y), the fourth decline in the last five months. Orders for computers & electronic equipment rose 2.7% (-0.9% y/y) led by an 11.2% rise (4.1% y/y) in communication equipment.

Growth in investment spending continued strong as nondefense capital orders increased 1.5% (17.7% y/y) following a 5.2% January drop. Excluding aircraft, orders rose 1.2% (8.4% y/y) after a 3.7% January decline. Defense capital goods orders rebounded during the last two months trimming the y/y change to -6.0% from its worst of -43.1%.

Shipments of durable goods slipped 0.4% (+8.2% y/y) last month. However, less the transportation sector shipments ticked up 0.3% (8.4% y/y) led by a 2.3% recovery (11.3% y/y) in machinery shipments. Durable goods inventories increased another 0.4% (9.5% y/y) paced by a 1.3% rise (10.2% y/y) in primary metals. Unfilled orders increased 1.3% (10.5% y/y) led by a 1.8% gain (25.2% 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 (%) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Orders 2.2 -3.6 3.3 12.2 10.1 15.4 -27.3
 Nondefense Capital Goods 1.5 -5.2 6.9 18.7 14.5 28.0 -31.0
   Excluding Aircraft 1.2 -3.7 3.5 8.4 10.2 17.2 -20.4
Shipments -0.4 0.1 2.0 8.2 8.0 6.2 -20.4
Inventories 0.4 0.6 0.3 9.5 10.7 9.9 -9.0
Unfilled Orders 1.3 0.7 1.5 10.5 9.7 3.9 -15.2
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