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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Increase Moderately in March
by Tom Moeller  April 26, 2022

• Core capital goods orders surge.

• Shipments strengthen.

• Order backlogs & inventories rise moderately.

Manufacturers' new orders for durable goods increased 0.8% (10.2% y/y) during March following a 1.7% February decline, revised from -2.2%. A 1.0% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Excluding transportation, orders rose 1.1% (8.9% y/y) following a 0.5% February decline, revised from -0.6%.

A 3.9% increase (12.9% y/y) in electrical equipment & appliance orders led the rise in orders last month as it followed a 1.2% February gain. Computer orders followed with a 2.6% gain (6.5% y/y) as it came after a 1.1% February decline. Machinery orders rose 0.7% (9.6% y/y) after falling 2.9%.

Transportation equipment orders edged 0.2% higher (13.3%) last month after following a 4.4% decline. Motor vehicle & parts orders rose 5.0% (8.2% y/y) but defense aircraft orders dove 25.6% (-16.5% y/y).

Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft rose 1.0% in March (10.2% y/y) after easing an unrevised 0.3% in February.

Durable goods shipments rose 1.2% in March (10.8% y/y) following a 0.1% increase, revised from little change. Transportation shipments strengthened 2.4% (8.9% y/y) following a 0.1% slip. Excluding transportation, shipments improved 0.7% in March (11.6% y/y) after a 0.2% gain. Machinery shipments rose 0.8% (13.2% y/y) but shipments of computers and electronic products fell 0.4% (+4.8% y/y). Shipments of electrical equipment and appliances increased 1.9% (13.5% y/y) while primary metals shipments gained 1.6% (19.9% y/y).

The advance reading on shipments of nondurable goods indicated a 3.2% rise (18.0% y/y) following a 2.0% February increase, revised from 1.1%. Shipments from all manufacturing industries increased 2.2% (14.3% y/y) in March after a 1.1% February rise. Capital goods shipments excluding defense and aircraft increased 0.2% (10.9% y/y) in March after a downwardly revised 0.2% gain.

Unfilled orders for durable goods rose 0.4% last month (8.3% y/y) following a 0.5% gain. Unfilled orders are not calculated for nondurable goods.

Durable goods inventories increased 0.7% (9.9% y/y) following a 0.6% February gain. Nondurable goods inventories rose 2.1% (11.5% y/y) after increasing 1.3% in February.

The durable goods and nondurable goods data are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics consensus forecast figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

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