Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| May 24 2024

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Rise in April

  • Motor vehicle orders move up, but aircraft orders decline.
  • Excluding transportation, orders increase modestly.
  • Durable goods shipments are strong; inventories & backlogs edge higher.

New orders for durable goods increased 0.7% (-0.9% y/y) during April after rising 0.8% in March, revised from 2.6% and strengthening 1.2% in February, revised from 0.7%. The Action Economics Forecast Survey called for a 0.7% April decline.

The April gain in new orders reflected a 1.2% increase (-5.7% y/y) in transportation sector bookings, following a 2.5% March rise, revised from 7.7%. Motor vehicle & parts orders improved 1.5% (5.1% y/y) after a 2.8% gain. Aircraft orders fell 6.0% following a 2.3% March rise, revised from 23.7%. Excluding the transportation sector, orders rose 0.4% Inafter little change in March.

Orders for primary metals gained 1.3% (1.6% y/y) following a 0.5% March rise. Most other durable goods categories posted modest changes in orders last month. Machinery orders rose 0.4% (0.9% y/y) after easing 0.3% in March. Orders for fabricated metals products rose 0.3% (2.7% y/y) and reversed the March gain. Orders for computers & electronic equipment improved 0.6% (3.4% y/y) after a 0.4% increase while orders for electrical equipment moved 0.9% higher (1.4% y/y) following sharp declines in both of the prior two months. Orders for all other durable goods declined 0.2% (+0.8% y/y).

Capital goods orders moved 0.5% higher in April (-7.6% y/y), after a 0.2% March gain. Total nondefense capital goods orders fell 1.5% (-3.1% y/y); but nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft rose 0.3% (0.5% y/y) in April after easing 0.1% in March. Defense capital goods orders surged 15.2% (-28.7% y/y) which followed a 7.1% decline in March.

Shipments of all manufactured goods rose 1.0% (2.9% y/y) in April after increasing 0.4% in March. Shipments of durable goods rose 1.2% (2.3% y/y) last month after they edged 0.1% higher in March. Nondurable goods shipments improved 0.8% in April (3.5% y/y) after increasing 0.7% in March.

Unfilled orders of durable goods rose 0.2% (8.1% y/y) after a 0.3% March rise. Excluding transportation, unfilled orders were fairly steady (-0.8% y/y) last month after two straight months of 0.1% decline. They’ve been edging lower since late-2022.

Manufacturers’ inventories edged up 0.1% (0.4% y/y) in April after zero change in the prior month. Durable goods inventories rose 0.1% (1.3% y/y) following little changed in March. Nondurable goods inventories rose 0.1% (-1.0%) in April as they had one month earlier.

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.

  • 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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