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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Fall Again With Oil Prices
by Tom Moeller  June 4, 2012

During April, orders in the manufacturing sector fell 0.6% (+3.5% y/y) versus expectations for a 0.3% rise. The drop added to a 2.1% decline during March, revised from 1.5%. Last month's figure reflected a 1.1% shortfall in nondurables orders (which equal shipments) due to a 4.4% drop in petroleum. Less oil, April nondurables orders ticked up 0.1% (1.5% y/y). Apparel orders rose 0.8% (4.6% y/y), paper product bookings increased 0.4% (-2.0% y/y) but basic chemicals orders fell 0.7% (+0.8% y/y). Durable goods orders were essentially unchanged (+6.7% y/y), little-changed from the advance report of a 0.2% decline.

Inventories in the factory sector were unchanged (4.8% y/y), a 0.4% rise was expected, as durable goods inventories rose 0.3% (6.8% y/y). Nondurables inventories fell 0.5% (+2.0% y/y) reflecting a 1.7% (+1.3% y/y) decline in oil. Inventories of apparel again were strong, up 0.4% (14.9% y/y). Factory sector backlogs slipped 0.1% (+9.3% y/y).

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

Monetary Policy, Economics and the Recovery from Sandra Pianalto, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

Factory Sector - NAICS Classification (%) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
New Orders -0.6 -2.1 1.5 3.5 12.2 12.9 -21.7
Shipments -0.3 0.1 0.4 4.4 11.3 8.6 -18.5
Inventories 0.0 0.1 0.3 4.8 9.4 8.8 -6.8
Unfilled Orders -0.1 0.0 1.1 9.3 9.7 3.9 -15.2
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