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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Improvement Paced by Aircraft
by Tom Moeller  December 21, 2018

New orders for durable goods rebounded last month. Overall durable goods orders increased 0.8% (5.3% y/y) during November following a 4.3% October decline. A 1.5% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Orders for defense aircraft & parts led the gain with a nearly one-third increase, and they rose by three-quarters y/y. Orders for civilian aircraft also were firm and posted a 6.7% rise. Orders for motor vehicles parts eased 0.2% (+8.7% y/y) after a 0.5% rise. Excluding the transportation sector entirely, durable goods bookings slipped 0.3% (+4.9% y/y) after a 0.4% increase.

In the capital goods sector, the gain in civilian aircraft lifted nondefense orders by 0.7%. Elsewhere, orders weakened. Nondefense capital goods orders less aircraft fell 0.6% (+6.5% y/y), the third decline in the last four months.

Increased orders for metals accounted for the remainder of last month's rise in orders overall. Primary metals orders rose 1.0% (9.1% y/y) and fabricated metals increased 0.5% (5.1% y/y). Working the other way, machinery bookings declined 1.7% (+7.2 y/y) after three consecutive 0.2% gains. Orders for electrical equipment & appliances fell 0.7% (+5.7% y/y) after a 1.1% rise. Computer & electronic product orders held steady (6.4% y/y) after a 2.9% jump. Within that grouping, communication product orders rose 0.8% (5.8% y/y).

Shipments of durable goods rose 0.7% during November (6.2% y/y) following a 0.4% easing. Excluding the transportation sector, however, shipments held steady (4.6% y/y) after a 3.3% rise. Unfilled orders for durable goods eased 0.1% (+4.6% y/y) and excluding transportation, order backlogs rose 0.2% (4.9% y/y). Inventories of durable goods rose 0.3% (4.7% y/y) after a 0.2% improvement. Excluding transportation, inventories increased 0.3% (5.4% y/y) following a 0.1% uptick.

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 Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
New Orders (SA, % chg) 0.8 -4.3 -0.0 5.3 5.4 -1.7 -5.0
  Transportation 2.9 -12.3 0.9 6.1 3.4 -0.7 -6.3
Total Excluding Transportation -0.3 0.4 -0.5 4.9 6.5 -2.3 -4.2
  Nondefense Capital Goods 0.7 -4.7 -3.2 0.5 9.1 -5.8 -11.8
    Excluding Aircraft -0.6 0.5 -0.6 6.5 6.7 -4.5 -5.5
Shipments 0.7 -0.4 0.9 6.2 4.0 -2.4 -0.8
Unfilled Orders -0.1 -0.2 0.7 4.6 2.0 -1.2 -2.7
Inventories 0.3 0.2 0.8 4.7 4.6 -3.0 0.9
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