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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Surge as Aircraft Soars
by Tom Moeller  December 6, 2016

Manufacturing sector orders jumped 2.7% during October (1.3% y/y) following a 0.6% September gain, revised from 0.3%. Durable goods bookings increased 4.6% (1.8% y/y), revised from the advance estimate of a 4.8% rise. Transportation orders increased 12.0% (5.1% y/y) as orders for nondefense aircraft & parts nearly doubled m/m (26.3% y/y). Orders outside of the transportation sector increased 0.8% (0.5% y/y). Electrical equipment, appliance & component orders increased 1.6% (0.3% y/y), but machinery orders remained steady (-5.5% y/y). Orders for nondurable goods, which equal shipments, improved 0.9% (0.8% y/y), the same as in September. Petroleum refinery shipments jumped 6.2% (0.2% y/y) with higher prices. Textile product shipments increased 1.2% (-1.8% y/y), but apparel shipments eased 0.4% (+3.4% y/y). Basic chemical shipments also were off 0.1% (+1.3% y/y). Shipments of durable goods eased 0.1% and were unchanged y/y. Machinery shipments were steady (-4.7% y/y), and computer & electronic product shipments increased 1.1% (4.0% y/y).

Unfilled orders increased 0.7% (-1.1% y/y) after three straight months of 0.2% decline. Outside of transportation, order backlogs improved 0.2% (0.7% y/y). Unfilled orders for electrical equipment & appliances rose 0.5% (7.2% y/y) while furniture backlogs rose 0.6% (6.3% y/). Unfilled orders for machinery declined 0.2% (-6.7% y/y) for the third straight month.

Inventories of manufactured products remained unchanged (-1.4% y/y) following a 0.1% easing. Outside of transportation, inventories also were unchanged (-1.6% y/y). Durable goods inventories held steady (-1.2% y/y) as machinery inventories declined 0.5% (-2.6% y/y), but transportation equipment inventories rose 0.2% (-0.7% y/y). Nondurable goods inventories rose 0.1% (-1.8% y/y). Apparel inventories gained 0.5% (3.0% y/y) and basic chemical inventories rose 0.4% (0.6% y/y). Food product inventories declined 0.7% (-0.5% y/y).

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

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
New Orders 2.7 0.6 0.4 1.3 -6.3 1.8 2.0
Shipments 0.4 0.9 0.2 0.4 -4.4 1.2 2.0
Unfilled Orders 0.7 -0.2 -0.2 -1.1 -2.4 8.8 5.8
Inventories 0.0 -0.1 0.1 -1.4 -2.5 1.8 0.9
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