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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Rise; Shipments Steady
by Tom Moeller  October 5, 2016

Manufacturing sector orders improved 0.2% (-1.6% y/y) during August following a 1.4% increase, revised from 1.9%. The rise reflected a 0.1% improvement (-1.1% y/y) in orders for durable goods, which was unrevised from the advance report. Transportation equipment orders increased 0.7% (-1.5% y/y), but machinery orders fell by a like amount (-7.9% y/y). New orders for nondurable goods, which equal shipments, improved 0.2% (-2.1% y/y). Petroleum refinery shipments gained 0.4% (-16.2% y/y) while chemical shipments were little changed both m/m and y/y. Apparel shipments increased 0.4% (5.0% y/y) and food product shipments rose 0.1% (0.5% y/y).

Shipments of durable goods eased 0.2% (-2.0% y/y) as transportation equipment shipments fell 0.9% (-3.5% y/y). Computer & electronic product shipments improved 0.2% (3.3% y/y). Electrical equipment and appliance shipments gained 0.3% (-4.6% y/y), and furniture shipments gained 0.3% (1.6% y/y).

Unfilled orders fell 0.1% (-2.1% y/y), the third straight monthly decline. Backlogs of machinery declined 0.3% (-6.9% y/y), down in all but one month this year. Computer backlogs rose 0.2% (5.1% y/y) while electrical equipment backlogs improved 0.4% (5.1% y/y).

Inventories of manufactured products rose 0.2% (-2.2% y/y) for the second straight month. Inventories of finished goods rose 0.3% (-1.7% y/y), but materials & supplies inventories fell 0.4% (-0.9% y/y). Inventories of durable goods rose 0.2% (-2.1% y/y). Nondurable goods inventories rose 0.2% (-2.3% y/y) as basic chemical inventories eased 0.1% (+0.4% y/y). Apparel inventories dropped 0.4% (+7.6% y/y) and petroleum inventories jumped 1.9% (-22.9% y/y).

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 (%) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
New Orders 0.2 1.4 -1.8 -1.6 -6.3 1.8 2.0
Shipments 0.0 -0.4 0.6 -2.0 -4.4 1.2 2.0
Unfilled Orders -0.1 -0.2 -0.9 -2.1 -2.4 8.8 5.8
Inventories 0.2 0.2 -0.0 -2.2 -2.5 1.8 0.9
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