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Economy in Brief

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Increase Modestly in April
by Tom Moeller  May 25, 2022

• Core capital goods orders edge higher.

• Shipments strengthen.

• Order backlogs & inventories rise moderately.

Manufacturers' new orders for durable goods increased 0.4% during April (12.2% y/y) after improving 0.6% in March, revised from 0.8%. A 0.6% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Within a key measure of activity in the capital goods sector, new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft increased 0.3% in April (7.5% y/y) after rising 1.1% during March.

Transportation equipment orders overall edged 0.6% higher (23.0% y/y) last month following a 0.3 % decline. Motor vehicle & parts orders fell 0.2% (+19.7% y/y), but defense aircraft orders rose 1.0% (2.9% y/y).

Excluding transportation, orders rose 0.3% last month (7.6% y/y) following an unrevised 1.1% March increase. Machinery orders rose 1.0% (9.9% y/y) after a 0.6% rise. Electrical equipment & appliance orders eased 0.1% (+11.7% y/y) after increasing 2.5% in March and 3.1% in February. Computer & electronic product orders improved 0.1% (4.3% y/y) after gaining 1.8% in March. Primary metals orders increased 0.6% (17.4% y/y) but fabricated metals bookings eased 0.1% (+2.8% y/y).

Shipments of durable goods improved 0.1% last month (12.2% y/y) after rising 1.4% in March, revised from 1.2%. Transportation shipments held steady (15.3% y/y) following a 2.6% rise. Excluding transportation, shipments improved 0.2% during April after a 0.9% gain. Machinery shipments rose 0.2% (14.1% y/y) while shipments of computers and electronic products gained 0.5% (3.9% y/y). Shipments of electrical equipment and appliances fell 0.6% (+11.3% y/y) while primary metals shipments gained 0.9% (20.6% y/y).

The advance reading on shipments of nondurable goods indicated a 0.1% rise during April (15.7% y/y) following strong gains in each of the prior three months. Shipments from all manufacturing industries edged 0.1% higher (13.9% y/y) in April after a 2.1% March gain. Capital goods shipments excluding defense and aircraft increased 0.8% (11.4% y/y) in April after a 0.2% gain.

Unfilled orders for durable goods rose 0.5% last month (7.8% y/y) following a 0.5% gain. Unfilled orders are not calculated for nondurable goods.

Durable goods inventories increased 0.8% (10.2% y/y) following a 0.9% March gain. Nondurable goods inventories rose 0.1% (11.2% y/y) after strong gains during each of the prior three months.

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.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

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