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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Decline While Inventories Rise
by Tom Moeller  February 4, 2014

Orders to all manufacturers roughly matched expectations and fell 1.5% (+0.8% y/y) during December. For all of last year new orders rose 2.7% and roughly equaled the 2012 increase. Last month's decline reflected a little-revised 4.2% drop (+0.4% y/y) in durable goods orders, led lower by aircraft bookings. Orders for nondurable goods (which equal shipments) increased 1.1% (1.2% y/y) after a 0.4% November slip. Shipments from petroleum refineries jumped 2.9% (0.5% y/y) and that was accompanied by a 2.3% rebound (6.8% y/y) in shipments from textile mills. Apparel shipments recovered 1.1% (6.0% y/y), basic chemical shipments increased 0.8% (0.9% y/y) and paper product shipments inched 0.4% higher (-0.9% y/y).

Inventories in the factory sector increased 0.5% (2.3% y/y), the strongest monthly rise since January. For all of last year inventories rose a steady 2.3%. Apparel inventories jumped 2.6% (17.5% y/y) but chemical inventories slipped 0.3% (+1.1% y/y), down for the eighth straight month. Petroleum inventories slipped 0.1% (-1.4% y/y) while paper product inventories ticked up 0.1% (-0.7% y/y). In the durable goods sector, inventories gained 0.8% (3.7% y/y).

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

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification Dec Nov Oct Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
New Orders -1.5 1.5 -0.5 0.8 2.7 2.9 12.9
Shipments -0.2 0.8 0.1 2.1 2.1 4.0 12.1
Inventories 0.5 0.1 0.0 2.3 2.3 2.4 10.2
Unfilled Orders 0.4 0.9 0.6 7.0 7.0 3.7 10.0
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