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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Led Higher by Aircraft
by Tom Moeller  May 24, 2013

Strength in the transportation sector led new orders for durable goods 3.3% higher (2.4% y/y) during April. This followed a little-revised 5.9% March decline and an upwardly-revised 6.4% February jump. A 1.7% rise in orders for last month had been expected. Transportation sector bookings rose 8.1% 6.0% y/y) following a 14.7% plunge during March. It was paced by a 25.7% rebound (4.6% y/y) in aircraft & parts. Defense aircraft orders surged 53.3% (-5.2% y/y) while nondefense aircraft orders gained 18.1% (8.6% y/y). Orders for motor vehicles and parts also rose 1.9% (9.3% y/y).

Outside of the transportation sector, orders rebounded 1.3% (0.9% y/y) after a 1.7% March drop. That increase was paced by a 1.9% jump (8.2% y/y) in machinery orders and a 3.6% gain (-7.9% y/y) in computers & electronic products. Communications equipment orders rose 5.7% (1.7% y/y) but computers & related products fell 3.7% (-3.9% y/y). Fabricated metals orders gained 1.2% (0.2% y/y) while orders for electrical equipment nudged up just 0.7% (0.2% y/y). Nondefense capital goods orders surged 3.3% (3.4% y/y) although that recovered just some of March's 9.0% decline. Orders excluding aircraft & parts, a measure of "core" business investment, gained 1.2% (2.6% y/y) following a 0.9% rise.

Shipments of durable goods declined 0.6% last month (+2.5% y/y) and backed away from the series' near-record high level. Transportation sector shipments declined 0.9% last month and were unchanged y/y. Outside of the transportation sector, shipments slipped 0.4% (+1.2% y/y). Nondefense capital goods shipments declined 3.0% (2.6% y/y); excluding aircraft, they fell 1.5% (+1.4% y/y).

Unfilled orders for durable goods rose 0.3% (2.0% y/y) in April. Outside of the transportation sector, backlogs gained 0.5% (-1.8% y/y). Inventories of durable goods nudged up 0.4% (3.5% y/y) last month. Excluding transportation, inventories slipped 0.1% (+0.3% 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 Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
New Orders 3.3 -5.9 6.4 2.4 4.1 11.0 23.2
  Transportation 8.1 -14.7 23.7 6.0 8.9 14.9 49.5
Total Excluding Transportation 1.3 -1.7 -0.2 0.9 2.1 9.5 15.2
  Nondefense Capital Goods 3.3 -9.0 9.2 3.4 3.7 15.3 27.5
    Excluding Aircraft 1.2 0.9 -4.8 2.6 2.1 11.6 12.9
Shipments -0.6 0.9 0.7 2.5 6.4 9.4 11.0
Inventories 0.4 -0.1 0.4 3.5 4.5 10.8 9.4
Unfilled Orders 0.3 -0.5 0.9 2.0 3.7 10.0 5.2
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