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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Rise Moderately And Inventories Tick Higher
by Tom Moeller  December 6, 2012

Orders in the factory sector are still rising, but the slower trend rate of growth mirrors other indications of slowing activity in manufacturing. Factory sector orders in October rose 0.8% following a 4.5% September gain. The September as well as the August figures were whipsawed by aircraft bookings. Expectations were for no change in October bookings according to Bloomberg. Durable goods orders increased 0.5% (2.8% y/y), revised from last week's report of no change. Nondurable goods orders (which equal shipments) jumped another 1.1% (3.2% y/y). That reflected a 2.0% rise (10.6% y/y) in petroleum shipments with higher prices. Shipments of apparel surged 3.7% (4.7% y/y), textile products shipments gained 0.8% (4.3% y/y) while basic chemicals shipments ticked 0.1% (-1.5% y/y) higher. Unfilled orders gained 0.3% (4.5% y/y) as the orders increase outpaced the shipments rise.

Inventories in the factory sector ticked 0.1% higher during October. The 3.1% y/y rate of inventory accumulation was down from its 13.6% rate one year ago. Over the last 12 months, inventories in the transportation sector rose 10.5% but that was a deceleration from last year's 15.0% rise. Excluding transportation, inventories slipped 0.1% (1.5% y/y) in October, the annual rise contrasts with 8.0% growth in both of the last two years. 

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


Factory Sector- NAICS Classification Oct Sep Aug Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
New Orders 0.8 4.5 -5.1 3.0 11.8 18.0 -23.1
Shipments 0.4 0.7 -0.2 3.3 11.8 11.2 -18.8
Inventories 0.1 0.6 0.6 3.1 9.4 8.8 -6.8
Unfilled Orders 0.3 0.1 -1.7 4.5 10.3 9.6 -19.5
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