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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Solid in April
by Sandy Batten  June 6, 2016

New factory orders rose 1.9%m/m in April following an upwardly revised 1.7% m/m increase in March. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had anticipated a 2.0% m/m rise for April. Durable goods orders for April (the advance report was released on May 26) were unrevised in today's report, rising 3.4% m/m on top of an upwardly revised 2.0% m/m increase in March. As in the advance report, durable goods orders in April were propelled by an 8.7% m/m surge in orders for transportation equipment, mostly nondefense aircraft (+65.3% m/m).

Besides revisions to the durable goods figures, the new information in this report was on nondurable goods. Those orders increased 0.4% m/m in April following a 1.4% m/m jump in March, their second consecutive monthly increase after eight consecutive monthly decreases.

Shipments of manufactured goods rose 0.5% m/m in April, their second consecutive monthly increase following declines in seven of the previous eight months. The rise in April was spread relatively evenly across durable and nondurable goods. Durable good shipments increased 0.5% m/m while nondurable shipments increased 0.4% m/m.

Unfilled orders jumped 0.6% m/m in April, their largest monthly increase since July 2014. Except for Machinery, all major categories experienced an increase in unfilled orders in April with Primary Metals leading the way with a 1.2% m/m rise.

Factory inventories continued to slide, posting their tenth consecutive monthly decline in April, falling 0.1% m/m. Inventories of durable goods, down 0.1% m/m, accounted for the April decline, while inventories of nondurables goods were essentially unchanged.

The factory sector figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure from the Action Economics Forecast Survey is available in AS1REPNA.

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
New Orders 1.9 1.7 -1.9 -2.7 -6.4 1.8 2.0
Shipments 0.5 0.3 -0.6 -4.7 -4.4 1.2 2.0
Unfilled Orders -0.6 0.0 -0.5 -1.6 -2.4 8.8 5.8
Inventories -0.1 -0.1 -0.4 -3.0 -2.5 1.8 0.9
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