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Economy in Brief

Durable Goods Orders Strengthened by Another Jump in Aircraft
by Tom Moeller  March 24, 2017

New orders for durable goods rose 1.7% (5.0% y/y) during February following a 2.3% January gain, initially reported as 1.8%. A 1.2% increase in orders had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The headline rise in orders again reflected strength in the transportation sector where a 4.3% increase was driven by a 47.6% jump in orders for nondefense aircraft & parts. Bookings for defense aircraft declined 12.8% and orders for motor vehicles & parts eased 0.8%. Excluding the transportation sector altogether, orders increased 0.4% (4.6% y/y) and have been rising since June.

Nondefense capital goods orders increased 4.1%. Excluding the rise in aircraft, orders dipped 0.1%.

Two areas of strength in orders last month were the metals sector where primary metals orders jumped 2.1% (6.0% y/y), and electrical equipment orders rose 2.2% (2.9% y/y). In other areas, orders were soft. Fabricated metals orders eased 0.4% (+5.7% y/y), but machinery orders improved 0.1% (5.1% y/y). Orders for computers & electronic products slipped 0.2% (+5.3% y/y) as computers & related product orders rose 1.6% (-3.1% y/y). Communications & equipment orders fell 3.8% (+5.5% y/y).

Shipments of durable goods improved 0.3% (2.7% y/y) following a 0.1% slip. Excluding the transportation sector, shipments gained 0.6% (4.5% y/y). Unfilled durable goods orders remained unchanged (-1.4% y/y) while excluding transportation, order backlogs gained 0.2% (2.4% y/y). Inventories of durable goods increased 0.2% (-0.1% y/y) while less transportation inventories increased 0.3% (0.8% 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 Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
New Orders (SA, %) 1.7 2.3 -0.9 5.0 -0.4 -2.9 4.8
  Transportation 4.3 7.0 -4.3 5.9 -0.5 -4.0 6.8
Total Excluding Transportation 0.4 0.2 0.9 4.6 -0.4 -2.3 3.8
  Nondefense Capital Goods 4.1 5.3 3.5 6.7 -5.2 -9.6 1.2
    Excluding Aircraft -0.1 0.1 0.8 2.7 -3.4 -3.2 0.8
Shipments 0.3 -0.1 1.7 2.7 -0.7 1.1 3.6
Unfilled Orders -0.0 -0.3 -0.8 -1.4 -1.5 -2.4 8.6
Inventories 0.2 0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -1.1 -0.6 5.2
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