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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Sector Orders and Shipments Decline
by Tom Moeller  October 2, 2014

New orders to all manufacturers fell 10.1% (+4.1% y/y) during August following the 10.5% July jump. A 9.3% decline was expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. An 18.4% (+8.6% y/y) decline in durable goods orders led the shortfall as it was generated by a 74.3% decline (+46.6% y/y) in nondefense aircraft & parts. That followed the 315.6% rise during July. Factory sector orders excluding transportation equipment slipped 0.1% (+2.8% y/y) after a 0.7% decline. Orders for nondurable goods (which equal shipments) declined 0.4% (+0.2% y/y) after a 0.8% drop. Shipments of apparel dropped 5.2% (+5.3% y/y and textile mill shipments fell 2.2% (+0.3% y/y). Petroleum shipments were off 1.4% (-5.5% y/y) but basic chemical shipments bumped up 0.2% (-0.6% y/y). Food product shipments also gained 0.1% (6.4% y/y).

Unfilled orders increased 0.6% (12.8% y/y). Excluding the transportation sector, order backlogs rose 0.7% (6.3% y/y). Backlogs of machinery increased 1.0% (12.1% y/y) while unfilled orders for computers & electronic products gained 0.9% (6.2% y/y). Electrical equipment backlogs rose 0.6% (10.6% y/y) and unfilled orders of furniture improved 1.2% (4.7% y/y).

Inventories in the factory sector ticked up 0.1% (3.7% y/y) after no change in July. In the durable goods sector, inventories rose 0.4% (6.3% y/y) led by a 0.8% increase (6.3% y/y) in primary metals. Electrical equipment inventories gained 0.8% (-0.1% y/y). Amongst nondurable goods industries inventories declined 0.3% (-0.3% y/y), off for the third straight month. Petroleum inventories dropped 1.8% (-4.2% y/y), basic chemicals were unchanged (-0.6% y/y) while apparel inventories slipped 0.1% (+25.0% y/y).

The factory sector figures are available in Haver's USECON database.

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
New Orders -10.1 10.5 1.5 4.1 2.7 2.9 12.9
Shipments -1.0 1.4 0.8 3.1 2.0 4.0 12.1
Inventories 0.1 0.0 0.2 3.7 2.3 2.4 10.2
Unfilled Orders 0.6 5.3 1.0 12.8 7.0 3.7 10.0
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