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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Retrace Earlier Rise
by Tom Moeller  April 24, 2013

Total durable goods orders during March fell 5.7% (+0.5% y/y) following a downwardly revised 4.3% increase in February. A 3.0% decline had been expected. Last month's decline was led by a 15.0% drop (+2.5% y/y) in transportation sector orders. That was paced by a nearly one-half drop (-22.7% y/y) in aircraft & parts, reflecting a near-halving (+2.1% y/y) in the nondefense sector. Orders for motor vehicles & parts ticked up 0.2% (11.9% y/y).

Outside of the transportation sector orders dropped 1.4% (-0.3% y/y), about the same as during February. Leading the decline was a 3.0% drop (-0.9% y/y) in primary metals orders. Electrical equipment bookings were off 2.4% (-1.7% y/y) while machinery bookings fell 1.4% (+5.0% y/y). Orders for computers & electronic products rose 1.0% but declined 11.2% y/y. Orders for nondefense capital goods dropped 10.6% (+0.3% y/y) as aircraft orders fell. Orders outside of aircraft ticked up 0.2% (-0.7% y/t) while defense orders fell by one-third (-40.6% y/y). 

Shipments of durable goods gained 0.4% (4.1% y/y) last month and reached another record high level for the series. Transportation sector shipments increased 2.1% (9.2% y/y) last month. Outside of the transportation sector, shipments slipped 0.2% (+2.1% y/y). Nondefense capital goods shipments rose 2.1% (2.6% y/y) but excluding aircraft, they ticked up just 0.3% (1.2% y/y).

Unfilled orders for durable goods fell 0.6% (+0.5% y/y) in March. Outside of the transportation sector backlogs fell 0.3% (-3.1% y/y). Inventories of durable goods ticked up 0.1% (3.9% y/y) last month. Excluding transportation, inventories gained 0.2% (1.3% y/y).

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

 

Durable Goods NAICS Classification Mar Feb Jan Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
New Orders -5.7 4.3 -3.7 0.5 3.7 9.8 27.1
  Transportation -15.0 20.0 -17.7 2.5 7.8 12.8 57.4
Total Excluding Transportation -1.4 -1.7 3.0 -0.3 1.9 8.6 18.0
  Nondefense Capital Goods -10.6 7.1 2.0 0.3 0.4 13.2 36.3
    Excluding Aircraft 0.2 -4.8 6.7 -0.7 -0.5 10.3 17.1
Shipments 0.4 0.7 -0.7 4.1 6.6 9.6 11.4
Inventories 0.1 0.4 0.4 3.9 4.5 10.3 9.5
Unfilled Orders -0.6 0.7 -0.0 0.5 2.3 10.3 9.6
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