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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Tick Higher With Rebound in Transportation
by Tom Moeller  September 25, 2013

New orders for durable goods edged up 0.1% last month (13.7% y/y) following a revised 8.1% slump during July, earlier reported as a 7.3% drop. The figure roughly matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A modest 0.7% rebound (30.7% y/y) in orders for transportation equipment led last month's improvement following a 21.9% July drop. Motor vehicle & parts orders rose 2.4% (11.8% y/y) but aircraft orders fell 4.5% (+180.2% y/y). Nondefense aircraft bookings fell 1.2% but were up nearly ten-fold versus August of last year.

Outside of the transportation sector, orders slipped 0.1% (+7.6% y/y) following a 0.5% July decline. Orders for computers & electronic products fell 3.4% (-0.6% y/y). Orders for computers rose 7.8% (-14.1% y/y) but the bulk of the total decline came as communications equipment orders dropped 1.7% (+6.2% y/y). Electrical equipment orders slipped 0.5% (-1.2% y/y) after a 5.1% July drop (-1.2% y/y). Orders for primary metals declined 0.5% (+8.8% y/y) though machinery orders increased 0.9% (18.1% y/y). A 0.2% slip (+25.9% y/y) in nondefense capital goods bookings reflected the drop in aircraft. Elsewhere, nondefense capital goods orders rose 1.5% (9.7% y/y) following a 3.3% July decline.

Shipments of durable goods gained 0.9% (4.9% y/y) after two months of slippage. Transportation shipments increase 1.5% (9.9% y/y). Shipments excluding transportation improved 0.7% (2.8% y/y) led by a 1.3% recovery (0.1% y/y) in computers & electronic products. Shipments of nondefense capital goods rose 0.4% (4.2% y/y) while excluding aircraft shipments recovered 1.3% (2.8% y/y) after two months of decline.

Inventories of durable goods ticked up 0.1% (2.0% y/y) but excluding transportation inventories slipped marginally (-0.2% y/y). Unfilled orders for durable goods were unchanged (5.8% y/y). Excluding transportation backlogs gained 0.6% (4.0% y/y) after a 1.5% decline during all of last year.

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 Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
New Orders 0.1 -8.1 3.9 13.7 4.1 11.0 23.2
  Transportation 0.7 -21.9 11.7 30.7 8.9 14.9 49.5
Total Excluding Transportation -0.1 -0.5 0.1 7.6 2.1 9.5 15.2
  Nondefense Capital Goods -0.2 -17.4 6.9 25.9 3.7 15.3 27.5
    Excluding Aircraft 1.5 -3.3 1.1 9.7 2.1 11.6 12.9
Shipments 0.9 -0.1 -0.1 4.9 6.4 9.4 11.0
Inventories 0.1 0.3 0.1 2.0 4.5 10.8 9.4
Unfilled Orders 0.0 0.2 2.1 5.8 3.7 10.0 5.2
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