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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders & Shipments Rise Modestly in April
by Tom Moeller  June 2, 2022

• Durable & nondurable goods orders are mixed.

• Shipments increase slows.

• Unfilled orders & inventories continue to rise.

Manufacturers' new orders rose 0.3% (14.0% y/y) during April following a 1.8% March rise, revised from a 2.2% increase reported initially. A 0.6% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Orders excluding transportation increased 0.3% (12.4% y/y) after strengthening 2.2% in March.

Durable goods orders rose 0.5% in April (12.2% y/y), revised from 0.4% in the advance report. The gain followed a 0.7% March rise. Machinery orders increased 1.0% (9.9% y/y) after rising 0.6% in March. Orders for computers and electronic equipment rose 0.1% (4.3% y/y) after rising 1.8% in March while electrical equipment & appliance orders fell 0.2% (+11.6% y/y) after a 2.6% rise.

New orders for nondurable goods, which equal shipments, improved 0.2% (15.8% y/y) in April following a 2.9% March increase. Shipments from petroleum refineries eased 0.5% (+63.4% y/y) despite higher prices. Apparel shipments gained 0.3% (5.3% y/y) after rising 2.3% in March. Shipments of basic chemicals fell 0.3% (+7.8% y/y) after five months of modest increase.

Total shipments edged 0.2% higher (14.0% y/y) in April after a 2.2% March rise. Shipments excluding transportation rose 0.2% (13.8% y/y) after improving roughly 1.5% in each of the prior three months. Durable goods shipments rose 0.1% (12.2% y/y) after a 1.4% gain. Transportation equipment shipments held steady (15.3% y/y) after they rose 2.6% In March. Machinery shipments increased 0.3% last month (14.2% y/y) after rising 0.9%. Shipments of computers & electronic products improved 0.5% (3.9% y/y) after easing 0.3% in March.

Unfilled orders increased 0.5% in April (7.8% y/y) after a 0.5% rise in March. Excluding transportation, unfilled orders gained 0.4% (9.3% y/y) following a 0.3% rise in March. Transportation backlogs increased 0.7% (6.8% y/y) while unfilled orders of machinery rose 0.6% (12.4% y/y).

Inventories of manufactured goods rose 0.6% in April (10.7% y/y). Transportation equipment inventories rose 0.7% (4.8% y/y) while excluding transportation, inventories gained 0.5% (12.2% y/y) after a 1.5% March rise.

The factory sector data are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics Forecast Survey is in the AS1REPNA database.

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