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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Post Another Solid Advance
by Tom Moeller  April 24, 2014

The manufacturing sector is recovering well following a rough winter. New orders for durable goods gained 2.6% (9.1% y/y) last month following a little-revised 2.1% February rise. The increase beat expectations for a 1.9% rise in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. New orders for transportation equipment again paced the monthly increase with a 4.0% jump (19.0% y/y) that added to February's 6.7% rise. It reflected an 8.6% recovery (54.9% y/y) in nondefense aircraft & parts orders following a 12.5% drop. Motor vehicle & parts bookings ticked 0.4% higher (4.5% y/y) which followed a 4.3% advance.

Outside of the transportation sector new orders were firm, posting a 2.0% rise (5.1% y/y) following a 0.1% uptick. Orders for computers & electronic products led the rise with a 5.7% increase (8.9% y/y), paced by a 7.9% gain (14.3% y/y) in communications equipment. Electrical equipment orders improved 3.5% (2.0% y/y) following declines during the prior two months. Fabricated metals orders increased 2.2% (-1.8% y/y) and primary metals orders rose 2.0% (6.5% y/y). Machinery bookings edged 0.5% higher (6.7% y/y), also following declines during the prior two months. Nondefense capital goods orders jumped 7.1% (9.1% y/y) after three months of sharp decline. Orders excluding aircraft gained 2.2% (3.5% y/y) and recovered February's 1.1% drop.

Shipments of durable goods added 1.1% (3.6% y/y) to a like rise in February. Shipments excluding the transportation sector gained 0.9% (3.5% y/y) following a 0.6% increase. Unfilled orders improved 0.6% (7.5% y/y) after a 0.2% gain, while order backlogs outside of the transportation sector rose 0.5% (6.0% y/y). Inventories of durable goods improved 0.5% (4.7% y/y) after February's 0.5% rise. Inventories outside the transportation sector increased 0.4% (2.4% y/y), roughly the same as in the prior month.

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 2013 2012 2011
New Orders (SA, %) 2.6 2.1 -1.4 9.1 5.1 4.1 11.0
  Transportation 4.0 6.7 -6.2 19.0 7.7 8.9 14.9
Total Excluding Transportation 2.0 0.1 0.9 5.1 3.9 2.1 9.5
  Nondefense Capital Goods 7.1 -2.8 -5.3 9.1 8.6 3.7 15.3
    Excluding Aircraft 2.2 -1.1 0.8 3.5 5.2 2.1 11.6
Shipments 1.1 1.0 -0.6 3.6 3.7 6.4 9.4
Inventories 0.5 0.8 0.2 4.7 3.7 4.5 10.8
Unfilled Orders 0.6 0.2 0.0 7.5 6.8 3.7 10.0
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