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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Decline Paced By Civilian Aircraft
by Tom Moeller  September 24, 2015

New orders for durable goods fell 2.0% (-1.9% y/y) during August following a 1.9% July increase, revised from 2.0%. The decline matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been an 88% correlation between the y/y change in durable goods orders and the change in real GDP.

Last month's decline reflected a 5.8% drop in transportation sector orders, paced by a 5.9% falloff (-24.9% y/y) in nondefense aircraft & parts orders. Motor vehicle & parts orders also declined 1.6% (+10.8% y/y) after a 4.9% rise. Orders excluding the transportation sector were little-changed following a 0.4% increase.

Orders for electrical equipment & appliances declined 0.6% (-6.4% y/y) while fabricated metals bookings fell 1.8% (-4.4% y/y). Orders for computers & electronic products eased 0.2% (+5.6% y/y). Offsetting these declines was a 1.0% improvement (-6.7% y/y) in machinery orders and a 0.1% uptick (-11.7% y/y) in primary metals.

Nondefense capital goods orders fell 2.0% (-7.5% y/y) after a 0.7% increase but excluding aircraft, they eased just 0.2% (-4.0% y/y). Defense capital goods orders fell by one-quarter (+3.9% y/y) and reversed July's increase.

Shipments of durable goods remained roughly unchanged (1.1% y/y) after a 1.0% rise. Transportation equipment shipments eased 0.1% (+9.3% y/y) following strength during the prior two months. Shipments excluding transportation were remained unchanged (-2.4% y/y) for a second straight month. Unfilled orders fell 0.2% (-1.2% y/y) and reversed July's improvement. Backlogs outside of transportation also were little-changed (-0.4% y/y). Inventories of durable goods held steady (+2.5% y/y) after a 0.2% dip. Inventories less transportation fell 0.3% (+0.8% y/y), off for the third month in four.

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 Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
New Orders (SA, %) -2.0 1.9 4.1 -1.9 6.8 2.2 6.3
  Transportation -5.8 5.0 10.8 0.8 6.1 6.5 16.6
Total Excluding Transportation -0.0 0.4 1.0 -3.1 7.2 0.1 2.0
  Nondefense Capital Goods -2.0 0.7 10.7 -7.5 6.6 2.8 10.8
    Excluding Aircraft -0.2 2.1 1.5 -4.0 6.3 -1.0 7.6
Shipments -0.0 1.0 0.9 1.1 4.8 2.0 6.3
Inventories 0.0 -0.2 0.4 2.5 6.1 2.4 3.8
Unfilled Orders -0.2 0.2 0.0 -1.2 11.4 6.4 7.5
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