Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Mar 26 2024

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rise in February after Large January Decline

  • Aircraft orders rise in February after January drop.
  • Ex-transportation, new orders also increase.
  • Advance in orders involves most individual industry sectors.

New orders for durable goods increased 1.4% (2.6% y/y) in February after plunging 6.9% in January, which was revised from 6.1% reported initially. The February increase is just slightly larger than the Action Economics forecast of a 1.2% rise. The January decline in new orders was more than accounted for by a 56.4% drop in aircraft orders, so that non-aircraft orders increased 0.4%. In February, aircraft orders rose by 20.8% and non-aircraft orders actually increased, albeit just slightly, by 0.13%.

New orders for all transportation equipment increased 3.3% (5.4% y/y) in February after dropping edged down 0.8% (-2.8% y/y). Motor vehicles and parts orders increased 1.8% (0.5% y/y) in February after decreasing 0.5% in January. Other transportation equipment orders fell 15.9% (-20.9%) in February after advancing 22.3% in January.

Most other durable goods categories saw their orders increase in February. Machinery had the largest percent change, +1.9% (1.1% y/y), after a decline of 0.8% in January. Orders for primary metals and for computers and electronic equipment each rose 1.4% in February. The primary metals sector orders had been down 1.6% in January and were unchanged year-on-year. The computer and electronics orders rose 1.0% in January and were up 3.3% year-on-year. Orders for fabricated metals products rose 0.8% (3.4% y/y) in February after declining 1.2% in January and “other” durable goods orders increased just 0.3% (-0.1% y/y) in February after being unchanged in January. Orders for electrical equipment fell 1.5% (0.7% y/y) in February following a 2.1% increase in January.

These industry performances produced a February increase in all capital goods orders of 1.9% in February (6.2% y/y) after a drop of 17.1% in January. Nondefense capital goods less aircraft – sometimes known as “core” capital goods – saw a rise of 0.7% (0.5% y/y) in February after a modest decrease of 0.4% in January.

Shipments of all manufactured goods rose 1.4% (0.6% y/y) in February after decreasing 0.8% in January. Manufacturers’ shipments of durable goods increased 1.2% (1.8% y/y) in February after falling 0.8% in January, and shipments of nondurable goods were up 1.6% in February after decreasing 0.8% in January.

Unfilled orders of durable goods were unchanged in February (+9.2% y/y) after tending very slightly lower in January. Excluding transportation, unfilled orders edged down 0.1% (-0.7% y/y) in February, after falling 0.3% in January.

Manufacturers’ inventories increased 0.3% (-0.3% y/y) in February after a modest decrease of 0.1% in January. Durable goods inventories also rose 0.3% (1.3% y/y) following a 0.1% increase in January, while nondurable goods inventories rose 0.1% (-2.8%) in February after a noticeable decline of 0.6% in January.

Manufacturers’ orders and shipments of durable and nondurable goods, along with unfilled orders and inventories, are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. They are available in Haver’s USECON database. The Action Economics forecast data are in the AS1REPNA database.

  • Carol Stone, CBE came to Haver Analytics in 2003 following more than 35 years as a financial market economist at major Wall Street financial institutions, most especially Merrill Lynch and Nomura Securities. She has broad experience in analysis and forecasting of flow-of-funds accounts, the federal budget and Federal Reserve operations. At Nomura Securites, among other duties, she developed various indicator forecasting tools and edited a daily global publication produced in London and New York for readers in Tokyo.   At Haver Analytics, Carol is a member of the Research Department, aiding database managers with research and documentation efforts, as well as posting commentary on select economic reports. In addition, she conducts Ways-of-the-World, a blog on economic issues for an Episcopal-Church-affiliated website, The Geranium Farm.   During her career, Carol served as an officer of the Money Marketeers and the Downtown Economists Club. She has a PhD from NYU's Stern School of Business. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a weekend home on Long Island.

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