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Economy in Brief

Durable Goods Orders Ease as Aircraft Orders Collapse
by Tom Moeller  January 27, 2017

New orders for durable declined 0.4% during December (+1.6% y/y) following a little-revised 4.8% November drop. A 3.0% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The decline in orders was prompted by a 2.2% drop (-2.1% y/y) in transportation sector orders, which reflected a 25.5% shortfall in aircraft orders. Motor vehicle & parts orders increased 2.0% (4.3% y/y). Durable goods orders excluding the transportation sector rose 0.5% (3.5% y/y).

Orders for computers & electronic products improved 2.4% (4.3% y/y) as communications equipment bookings rose 4.9% (13.5% y/y). Computers & related product orders fell 6.0% (-9.8% y/y). Electrical equipment orders improved 0.6% (1.0% y/y), and machinery orders rose 0.4% (4.5% y/y). Primary metals orders eased 0.9% (+4.4% y/y).

Shipments of durable goods increased 1.4% (3.1% y/y), helped by a 1.8% gain (0.7% y/y) in nondefense capital goods shipments. Excluding aircraft, civilian product shipments rose 1.0% (-2.5% y/y). Machinery shipments jumped 1.6% (-2.4% y/y), and computer & electronic product shipments improved 0.5% (6.2% y/y).

Unfilled orders of durable goods declined 0.6% (-1.4% y/y), but excluding transportation, order backlogs rose 0.4% (2.2% y/y). Unfilled orders for computers & electronic appliances rose 0.7% (4.6% y/y), and unfilled orders for electrical equipment strengthened 1.8% (11.1% y/y). Transportation equipment backlogs fell 1.1% (-3.1% y/y).

Inventories of durable goods remained steady (-1.0% y/y). Inventories excluding the transportation sector increased 0.2% (-0.8% y/y). Machinery inventories accumulated 0.5% (-1.5% y/y), while computer & electronic product inventories eased 0.1% (0.0% y/y).

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

Durable Goods NAICS Classification Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
New Orders (SA, %) -0.4 -4.8 5.0 1.6 -0.4 -2.9 4.8
  Transportation -2.2 -14.7 12.3 -2.1 -0.3 -4.0 6.8
Total Excluding Transportation 0.5 1.0 1.1 3.5 -0.5 -2.3 3.8
  Nondefense Capital Goods 3.8 -20.0 14.8 7.7 -5.2 -9.6 1.2
    Excluding Aircraft 0.8 1.5 0.5 2.8 -3.5 -3.2 0.8
Shipments 1.4 0.3 -0.2 3.1 -0.8 1.1 3.5
Unfilled Orders -0.6 -0.3 0.8 -1.4 -1.4 -2.4 8.6
Inventories 0.0 0.2 -0.1 -1.0 -1.0 -0.6 5.2
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