Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Mar 24 2023

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Decline in February, as Aircraft Orders Tumble

  • Total orders fall for third month in last four.
  • Orders are mixed across categories.
  • Shipments & order backlogs ease; inventories rise.

In this Advance Report, Durable Goods Orders declined 1.0% (+2.2% y/y) in February after a 5.0% weakening in January, revised from -4.5%. Expectations had been for a 1.0% rise in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

A 2.8% decline (+3.4% y/y) in transportation sector orders led last month’s orders decline, following a 14.0% January drop. Orders for nondefense aircraft & parts dropped 6.6% last month after plummeting 56.3% in January. Orders for defense aircraft also weakened 11.1%. It followed a 2.6% in January gain. Elsewhere in the transportation sector, motor vehicle & parts orders weakened 0.9% (+11.6% y/y) after holding roughly steady in January. Subtracting transportation sector orders altogether, durable goods orders held steady (+1.7% y/y) after rising 0.4% in January.

Machinery orders weakened 0.5% in February (+3.0% y/y) after rising 0.7% in January. Computer & electronic product orders slipped 0.1% (3.6% y/y) after a 0.2% January improvement. Improving by 1.0% (8.3% y/y) were electrical equipment & appliance orders, which added to a 2.1% jump in January. Fabricated metals orders improved 0.4% (-1.0% y/y) after easing for six consecutive months. Primary metals orders rose 0.3% (0.5% y/y), following a 1.0% rise.

Capital goods orders fell 2.2% (-1.3% y/y) after a 13.7% decline as nondefense capital goods orders less aircraft improved 0.2% (4.3% y/y) following a 0.3% rise. Defense capital goods orders fell 7.4% (+1.1% y/y) following a 2.8% January gain.

Shipments of durable goods fell 0.6% (+5.6% y/y) after weakening 0.4% in January. Shipments of nondurable goods fell 0.5% (+3.2% y/y) after a 1.0% January gain. Total manufacturing shipments declined 0.5% (+4.4% y/y) in February, reversing the 0.3% January rise. Transportation equipment shipments declined 1.4% (+12.1% y/y) last month after a 2.5% drop. Excluding transportation, shipments of durable goods eased 0.1% (+2.7% y/y) following a 0.6% January rise. Core capital goods shipments held steady (+5.5% y/y) after increasing 0.9% in January.

Unfilled durable goods orders eased 0.1% last month (+5.5% y/y) after holding roughly steady in January. Manufacturing inventories slipped 0.1% (+4.6% y/y) in February after a like decline in January. Durable goods inventories rose 0.2% (4.7% y/y) while nondurable goods inventories fell 0.5% (+4.4% y/y) during February.

Manufacturers’ orders and shipments of durable goods, as well as nondurable goods, are available in Haver’s USECON database. Unfilled orders and inventories are also included. The Action Economics forecast data are in the AS1REPNA database.

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

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