Recent Updates

  • Japan: NCI Economic Activity Index (Jan)
  • Bulgaria: Foreign Trade by Country (Oct)
  • Germany: ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment (Jan)
  • Belgium: HICP (Dec)
  • South Africa: Mining Production & Sales (Nov)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders and Shipments Rose in September
by Sandy Batten  November 3, 2021

• New orders increased for fifth consecutive month.

• Shipments rose with a solid gain in nondurable goods.

• Inventories and unfilled orders were also up.

Total factory orders rose 0.2% m/m (14.9% y/y) in September following a 1.0% m/m gain in August. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected a 0.1% m/m decline. A 0.8% m/m rise in orders for nondurable goods more than offset a 0.3% m/m decline in durable goods orders (revised up from -0.4% in the advance report).

The September decline in durable goods orders were completely accounted for by a 2.3% drop in orders for transportation equipment (motor vehicles, -1.9% m/m and nondefense aircraft, -27.9% m/m). Orders excluding transportation equipment were up 0.7% m/m (14.6% y/y) versus 0.5% m/m in August. Primary metals orders rose 0.7% m/m as did orders for fabricated metal products. Machinery orders jumped up 1.2% m/m. Orders for computers and electronic equipment slipped 0.2% m/m; for electrical appliances fell 0.6% m/m; and for furniture declined 1.3% m/m.

Total shipments increased 0.6% m/m (11.7% y/y) in September, up from a meager 0.1% m/m gain in August. Shipments of durable goods industries rose 0.4% m/m (9.2% y/y) in September, nearly reversing a 0.5% m/m drop in August. Shipments rose across all major industry groups with the exception of a 1.0% m/m decline in shipments of transportation equipment, led by weakness in shipments of automobiles (-12.3% m/m) and light trucks (-3.0% m/m).

Nondurable goods orders, which are equal to shipments, increased 0.8% (14.4% y/y) in September following an upwardly revised 0.7% m/m gain in August (initially 0.6%). The September rise was led by a 2.1% m/m (50.3% y/y) increase in shipments of petroleum and coal products, a reflection in part of the persistent rise in global energy prices. However, gains were widespread across industries with the only monthly declines in textiles mills (-0.1% m/m) and printing (-1.0% m/m).

The value of unfilled orders increased 0.7% m/m (4.7% y/y) in September after a 0.9% m/m gain in August (revised down from 1.0%). A 0.6% m/m rise in unfilled transportation equipment orders led the September increase though unfilled orders rose in every major industry group.

Inventories increased 0.8% m/m (8.2% y/y) in September, following a 0.7% m/m gain in August. This was the largest monthly rise in three months and the eighth consecutive monthly gain. Inventories of durable goods were up 0.9% m/m (8.0% y/y) and inventories of nondurable goods increased 0.7% m/m (8.5% y/y).

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

Factory Sector (% chg) - NAICS Classification Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
New Orders 0.2 1.0 0.7 14.9 -10.4 -0.2 5.7
Shipments 0.6 0.1 1.5 11.7 -6.7 -2.6 6.0
Unfilled Orders 0.7 0.9 0.5 4.7 -8.2 10.2 -1.6
Inventories 0.8 0.7 0.6 8.2 -0.5 5.3 2.8
large image