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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders and Shipments Trend Higher
by Tom Moeller  November 3, 2016

Manufacturing sector orders improved 0.3% during September following a 0.4% increase in August, revised from 0.2%. Three month growth rose to 8.4%. New orders for durable goods declined 0.3% (+1.4% y/y), which was revised from the advance report of a 0.1% easing. A 0.9% decline (+2.2% y/y) in orders for computers & electronic products was offset by a 1.1% rise (-6.1% y/y) in machinery orders. Orders for nondurable goods (which equal shipments) also offset the declines with a 0.9% increase (-0.1% y/y). Petroleum refinery shipments led the strength with a 4.6% jump (-5.0% y/y). Basic chemical shipments increased 0.8% (0.2% y/y). Food product shipments improved 0.1% (0.4% y/y). These gains were countered by a 1.8% decline (-2.9% y/y) in textile product shipments and a 2.0% drop (+3.4% y/y) in apparel shipments. Shipments of durable goods gained 0.8% (-1.1% y/y), led by a 2.2% recovery in transportation equipment shipments (-1.3% y/y).

Unfilled orders fell 0.4% (-1.6% y/y), the fourth consecutive monthly decline. It reflected a 0.6% drop (-2.6% y/y) in transportation sector backlogs. Offsetting the decline was a 1.8% rise (5.9% y/y) in unfilled orders in the furniture industry. Electrical equipment & appliance backlogs rose 0.3% (5.3% y/y), and unfilled orders for machinery ticked 0.1% higher (-6.1% y/y).

Inventories of manufactured products were little changed (-1.9% y/y) after a 0.1% rise. Transportation product inventories also remained unchanged (-1.3% y/y), while computer & electronic product inventories eased 0.2% (-0.1% y/y). To the upside, machinery inventories increased 0.4% (-3.1% y/y) and electrical equipment & appliance inventories rose 0.6% (-2.0% y/y).

The factory sector figures are available in Haver's USECON database.

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
New Orders 0.3 0.4 1.4 0.6 -6.3 1.8 2.0
Shipments 0.8 0.2 -0.4 -0.6 -4.4 1.2 2.0
Unfilled Orders -0.4 -0.2 -0.2 -1.6 -2.4 8.8 5.8
Inventories -0.0 0.1 0.2 -1.9 -2.5 1.8 0.9
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