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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Increase While Core Capital Goods Decline
by Gerald D. Cohen  September 27, 2019

Manufacturers' orders for durable goods rose 0.2% in August (-3.0% year-on-year) following a 2.0% increase in July. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a 1.0% decline. Orders in the transportation sector decreased 0.4% (-8.5% y/y) after jumping 7.2%. Nondefense capital goods orders less aircraft, which is a forward-looking indicator of capital spending, were down 0.2% (-0.3% y/y), following an unchanged reading. In the second quarter GDP report inflation-adjusted non-residential fixed investment declined at a 1.0% annual rate (+2.6% y/y).

A 0.8% decline in motor vehicle and a 5.6% drop in aircraft orders (+3.3% and -37.7% y/y respectively) were more than offset by 0.6% and 1.3% gains in machinery and fabricated metals (-1.3% and +2.5% y/y respectively).

Shipments of durable goods edged up 0.1% in August (0.3% y/y) after falling 1.2%. Excluding the transportation sector, shipments rose 0.5% (0.9% y/y). Nondefense capital goods shipments excluding aircraft increased 0.4% (1.7% y/y).

Unfilled orders for durable goods including and excluding transportation both edged up 0.1% (-0.9% and +0.8% y/y respectively). Inventories of durable goods increased 0.3% (5.2% y/y). Excluding transportation, inventories ticked down 0.1% (+2.4% 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 Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
New Orders (SA, % chg) 0.2 2.0 1.8 -3.0 7.9 5.4 -1.7
  Transportation -0.4 7.2 4.1 -8.5 9.8 3.2 -0.6
Total Excluding Transportation 0.5 -0.5 0.7 0.2 6.9 6.5 -2.3
  Nondefense Capital Goods -2.1 5.2 5.0 -8.4 5.5 9.1 -5.8
    Excluding Aircraft -0.2 0.0 0.9 -0.3 6.0 6.7 -4.5
Shipments 0.1 -1.2 0.9 0.3 7.1 4.0 -2.3
Unfilled Orders 0.1 0.1 -0.6 -0.9 3.9 1.9 -1.1
Inventories 0.3 0.4 0.3 5.2 4.8 4.5 -3.0
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