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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Sector Orders Surge With Aircraft
by Tom Moeller  May 4, 2015

New orders in the manufacturing sector jumped an expected 2.1% (-4.0% y/y) during March following a 0.1% downtick in February, revised from 0.2%. The gain was driven by jumps in civilian & military aircraft orders.

Durable goods orders surged 4.4% (1.2% y/y), revised from 4.0% as orders for defense aircraft doubled (16.9% y/y) and orders for commercial aircraft rose 30.6% (-3.1% y/y). Factory sector orders overall excluding the transportation sector increased 2.1% (-4.0% y/y). Computers & electronics orders jumped 7.2% (4.8% y/y) but machinery orders declined 1.4% (-11.5% y/y). Nondurable goods orders, which equal shipments, slipped 0.3% (-8.8% y/y), pulled down by a 1.9% drop (-30.0% y/y) in petroleum shipments with lower prices. Basic chemicals shipments declined 0.3% (-3.2% y/y) and food product shipments were off 0.3% (-0.4% y/y), down for the third month in the last four. Countering these declines was a 0.9% rise (13.9% y/y) in apparel shipments.

Shipments overall gained 0.5% (-2.8% y/y) as durable goods shipments rose 1.2% (3.8% y/y). Computer & electronics shipments improved 1.7% (0.9% y/y) and automobile shipments increased 14.1% (16.7% y/y). Machinery shipments declined 1.7% (-4.3% y/y).

Unfilled orders gained 0.1% (8.1% y/y) due to a 0.9% increase (7.5% y/y) in computers and a 0.5% rise (10.7% y/y) in electrical equipment & appliances. Transportation backlogs rose 0.3% 10.5% y/y) and furniture backlogs gained 0.3% (12.9% y/y)

Manufacturers inventories fell 0.2% (+0.9% y/y). Computers inventories rose 0.8% (4.7% y/y) and machinery inventories gained 0.3% (2.8% y/y). Primary metals products inventories declined 2.1% (+4.9% y/y).

The factory sector figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is available in AS1REPNA.

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
New Orders 2.1 -0.1 -0.7 -4.0 2.8 2.7 2.9
Shipments 0.5 0.4 -2.3 -2.8 2.3 2.0 4.0
Inventories -0.2 0.0 -0.4 0.9 2.5 2.3 2.4
Unfilled Orders 0.1 -0.5 -0.3 8.1 9.9 7.0 3.7
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