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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Sector Orders Decline With Fewer Aircraft
by Tom Moeller  November 4, 2014

New orders to all manufacturers fell 0.6% (+1.9% y/y) during September following the 10.0% August retrenchment. A 0.5% decline was expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A 1.1% shortfall (+3.5% y/y) in durable goods orders led the drop and it was generated by a 16.1% decline (-19.2% y/y) in nondefense aircraft & parts orders. That followed the 74.0% drop during July. Factory sector orders excluding transportation equipment were roughly unchanged (+3.2% y/y), the same as in August. Orders for nondurable goods (which equal shipments) held steady (0.5% y/y) after a 0.4% drop. Shipments of apparel jumped 4.1% (6.7% y/y and textile mill shipments improved 0.8% (0.3% y/y). Petroleum shipments were off 0.1% (-3.9% y/y) but basic chemical shipments nudged up 0.1% (-0.6% y/y). Food product shipments fell 0.2% (+5.9% y/y).

Unfilled orders increased 0.3% (12.2% y/y) while order backlogs excluding the transportation sector rose 0.7% (6.8% y/y). Electrical equipment backlogs rose 2.1% (13.5% y/y) and unfilled orders for computers & electronic products gained 0.7% (6.8% y/y). Unfilled orders of machinery increased 0.1% (11.8% y/y) while furniture backlogs improved 1.3% (7.4% y/y).

Inventories in the factory sector rose 0.2% (3.5% y/y). In the durable goods sector, inventories rose 0.4% (5.8% y/y) for the fourth straight month. Primary metals inventories gained 0.6% (6.1% y/y) but electrical equipment inventories retreated 1.0% (-0.7% y/y). Amongst nondurable goods industries, inventories were roughly unchanged (0.1% y/y). Petroleum inventories dropped 1.0% (-4.6% y/y), basic chemicals edged up 0.2% (0.1% y/y) while apparel inventories rose 0.7% (24.5% y/y).

Housing Market Headwinds from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

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

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
New Orders -0.6 -10.0 10.5 1.9 2.7 2.9 12.9
Shipments 0.1 -1.1 1.4 3.1 2.0 4.0 12.1
Inventories 0.2 0.1 0.0 3.5 2.3 2.4 10.2
Unfilled Orders 0.3 0.6 5.3 12.2 7.0 3.7 10.0
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