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Economy in Brief

Durable Goods Orders Decline Led by Transportation
by Tom Moeller  May 26, 2017

New orders for durable goods declined 0.7% (+0.9% y/y) during April following a 2.3% March rise, revised from 0.7%. Earlier figures also were revised back to 2002. A 1.1% decrease in orders had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The decline in durable good orders reflected a 1.2% fall in transportation bookings. They were pulled lower by a 9.2% drop (-27.5% y/y) in civilian aircraft orders. Defense aircraft orders gained 7.1% (-8.7% y/y) while motor vehicle & parts orders rose 0.3% (-0.0% y/y).

Electrical equipment orders fell 1.7% (+2.5% y/y) following two months of strong increase. Machinery orders also eased 0.8% (+7.0% y/y), but orders for computers & related products jumped 5.0% (-2.6% y/y). Communication equipment orders gained 4.2% (3.6% y/y). Primary metals orders eased 0.2% (+9.9% y/y) and fabricated metal orders declined 0.9% (+7.5% y/y).

Nondefense capital goods orders declined 1.9% (-2.6% y/y) while orders excluding aircraft remained steady (+2.9% /y) for the third straight month.

Shipments of durable goods edged 0.3% lower (+2.8% y/y) and excluding transportation, shipments were off 0.2% (+4.6% y/y). Backlogs of durable goods orders rose 0.2% (-1.4% y/y) while excluding transportation, unfilled orders increased 0.3% (2.8% y/y). Inventories of durable goods improved 0.1% (1.1% y/y). Inventories excluding the transportation sector increased 0.2% (2.7% y/y).

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 Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
New Orders (SA, %) -0.7 2.3 1.4 0.9 -1.7 -4.6 4.7
  Transportation -1.2 5.3 3.6 -6.0 -3.4 -6.2 8.2
Total Excluding Transportation -0.4 0.8 0.3 4.9 -0.7 -3.6 2.9
  Nondefense Capital Goods -1.9 1.9 4.2 -2.6 -7.1 -11.0 0.9
    Excluding Aircraft 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.9 -4.6 -4.3 0.3
Shipments -0.3 -0.1 0.4 2.8 -1.6 -0.6 3.8
Unfilled Orders 0.2 0.3 -0.2 -1.4 -1.7 -2.0 8.3
Inventories 0.1 0.2 0.2 1.1 -0.7 1.6 4.7
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