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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Sector's New and Unfilled Orders Increase
by Tom Moeller  December 3, 2015

New orders in the manufacturing sector rebounded 1.5% during October (-5.7% y/y) following a 0.8% September decline, revised from -1.0%. The increase roughly matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. It was led by a 2.9% rebound (-1.1% y/y) in durable goods orders which were little-revised from last week's advance report. The rise was paced by an 81.0% recovery (24.5% y/y) in nondefense aircraft & parts. Factory sector orders excluding the transportation altogether nudged 0.2% higher (-1.6% y/y) following three straight months of decline. Orders for nondurable goods (which equal shipments) remained unchanged (-9.9% y/y), following three straight monthly drops. A 0.1% easing (-35.5% y/y) in shipments from petroleum refineries followed three consecutive sharp drops as prices fell. Also dipping by 0.1% (-0.4% y/y) were apparel shipments. Food product shipments edged 0.1% higher (-2.2% y/y) but basic chemical shipments fell 0.6% (-2.5% y/y). Textile mill shipments rose 0.5% and they were up 0.4% y/y. Durable goods shipments declined 1.0% (-1.7% y/y) led by a 1.3% decrease (-3.4% y/y) in machinery.

Unfilled orders in the manufacturing sector increased 0.3% (-2.1% y/y). Transportation sector backlogs rose 0.4% (-2.3% y/y), led by a 0.6% rise (-1.0% y/y) in nondefense aircraft & parts. Outside of the transportation sector, backlogs remained unchanged (-1.9% y/y). Electrical equipment backlogs fell 1.0% (-3.2% y/y), the seventh decline in as many months. Computer & electronic product backlogs gained 0.4% (6.2% y/y).

Factory sector inventories eased 0.1% (-1.8% y/y), about as they have during the last four months. Outside of the transportation sector, inventories were off 0.1% (-3.0% y/y). Primary metals inventories fell 0.9% (-8.3% y/y) and machinery inventories eased 0.3% (-1.8% y/y). Electrical equipment & appliance inventories declined 0.4% (+0.3% y/y) and computer & electronic product inventories fell 0.6%; they were unchanged 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 (%) Oct Sep Aug Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
New Orders 1.5 -0.8 -2.1 -5.7 3.5 2.0 4.7
Shipments -0.5 -0.3 -0.9 -5.9 2.6 1.9 4.7
Unfilled Orders 0.3 -0.5 -0.3 -2.1 11.5 6.5 7.8
Inventories -0.1 -0.5 -0.4 -1.8 2.4 1.7 3.8
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