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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Recover
by Tom Moeller  March 26, 2013

Total durable goods orders during February rebounded 5.7% (3.8% y/y) following a 3.8% January decline, revised from -5.2%. A 3.7% rise had been expected. Last month's recovery was led by a 21.7% rebound (9.4% y/y) in transportation sector orders. That was paced by a three-quarters jump (-1.0% y/y) in aircraft & parts reflecting a near-doubling (10.0% y/y) in the nondefense sector. Orders for motor vehicles & parts rose a strong 3.8% (12.7% y/y).

Outside of the transportation sector, there still was life in orders. Electrical equipment bookings jumped 2.9% (3.3% y/y) while orders for computers and electronic products rose 1.3% (-9.2% y/y). Primary metals orders gained 1.7% (3.7% y/y). Moving lower were machinery orders, down by 2.2% (+3.7% y/y). Continuing to show strength were orders for nondefense capital goods. The 10.0% (1.2% y/y) m/m rise, however, was limited to the jump in aircraft. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft fell 2.7% (-1.1%) after a 6.7% January jump. 

Shipments of durable goods recovered 1.0% (4.7% y/y) last month and reached a record high level for the series. The strength, however, reflected the rise in the transportation sector where shipments rose 1.6% (9.2% y/y) last month. Outside of the transportation sector, shipments ticked up 0.7% (3.0% y/y) last month. The rise here was paced by a 10.4% y/y gain in the machinery sector.

Unfilled orders for durable goods improved 0.9% (1.4% y/y) in February. Outside of the transportation sector there was, however, no y/y strength as they fell 2.3% versus 2012. Inventories of durable goods gained 0.4% (4.2% y/y) last month. Excluding transportation, inventories again slipped 0.1% (+1.4% y/y), down for the fourth straight month.

The durable goods figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics consensus forecast figure is in the AS1REPNA database. 

Monetary Policy and the Global Economy is the title of yesterday's speech by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

 

Durable Goods NAICS Classification Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
New Orders 5.7 -3.8 3.6 3.8 3.7 9.8 27.1
  Transportation 21.7 -17.8 9.9 9.4 7.8 12.8 57.4
Total Excluding Transportation -0.5 2.9 0.8 1.4 1.9 8.6 18.0
  Nondefense Capital Goods 10.0 2.0 1.0 1.2 0.4 13.2 36.3
    Excluding Aircraft -2.7 6.7 -0.8 -1.1 -0.5 10.3 17.1
Shipments 1.0 -0.7 0.6 4.7 6.6 9.6 11.4
Inventories 0.4 0.3 -0.1 4.2 4.5 10.3 9.5
Unfilled Orders 0.9 -0.1 0.7 1.4 2.3 10.3 9.6
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