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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Decline With Fewer Aircraft Bookings
by Tom Moeller  May 2, 2012

Orders in the manufacturing sector dropped an expected 1.5% (+3.3% y/y) during March and reversed a little-revised 1.1% February jump. The decline reflected a 4.0% slump in orders for durable goods. That was little-changed from the advance report of a 4.2% drop due to aircraft reported last week. In the nondurable goods sector, where orders equal shipments, orders rose for the second month by 0.5% (3.6% y/y). Petroleum shipments slipped 0.1% (+6.0% y/y) as prices stabilized and basic chemicals were stable (1.9% y/y). Elsewhere, apparel shipments declined 1.3% (+10.5% y/y) but paper product shipments rose 0.6% (-2.8% y/y). Shipments of food products rose 1.2% (2.6% y/y).

Inventories in the factory sector increased another 0.3% (6.6% y/y) during March as durable goods inventories rose 0.5% (8.0% y/y). Nondurables inventories were unchanged (4.5% y/y) reflecting a 1.1% (+8.7% y/y) decline in oil. Elsewhere inventories rose, notably plastics (6.7% y/y).

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

Factory Sector - NAICS Classification (%) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Orders -1.5 1.1 -1.1 3.3 12.2 12.9 -21.7
Shipments 0.7 0.1 0.6 4.7 11.3 8.6 -18.5
Inventories 0.3 0.3 0.6 6.6 9.5 8.7 -6.8
Unfilled Orders 0.1 1.2 0.7 9.7 9.7 3.9 -15.2
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