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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Slip
by Tom Moeller  June 5, 2017

Manufacturing sector orders eased 0.2% (+2.9% y/y) following a 1.0% gain, revised from 0.2%. Earlier figures were revised. Durable goods orders declined 0.8% (-0.1% y/y), revised from the advance report of a 0.7% fall. Transportation sector orders declined 1.4% (-6.8% y/y). Orders outside of the transportation sector ticked 0.1% higher (4.9% y/y). Bookings for computers & electronic products jumped 1.6% (1.1% y/y). Machinery orders fell 0.7% (+4.6% y/y), while electrical equipment orders declined 2.0% (+0.1 y/y).

Total factory sector shipments held steady (3.1% y/y). Durable goods shipments fell 0.4% (+0.3% y/y). Transportation equipment shipments declined 0.7% (-3.9% y/y). Nondefense aircraft shipments fell 2.9% (-9.9% y/y). Defense aircraft & parts shipments fell 4.4% (+14.6% y/y). Excluding the transportation sector, shipments improved 0.2% (+4.5% y/y). Shipments of machinery increased 0.2% (1.1% y/y) and computer & electronic product shipments held fairly steady (2.9% y/y).

Nondurable goods shipments (which equal orders) improved 0.4% (6.0% y/y). Petroleum refinery shipments rose 0.3% (32.2% y/y). Basic chemical shipments gained 0.3% (1.3% y/y) and textile mill shipments recovered 0.4% (3.0% y/y). Food product shipments jumped 1.1% (6.2% y/y) but paper product shipments declined 1.1% (-0.8% y/y).

Unfilled orders rose 0.2% (-1.4% y/y), but continued the weak trend in place since 2015. Backlogs in the transportation sector rose 0.2% (-3.1% y/y). Outside of the transportation sector, unfilled orders improved 0.3% (2.9% y/y). Electrical equipment & appliance backlogs increased 0.3% (12.6% y/y) and computer & electronic product backlogs inched 0.1% higher (3.9% y/y). Unfilled orders for machinery were fairly steady (-0.2% y/y).

Inventories at the factory level nudged 0.1% higher (2.5% y/y) in April. Outside of the transportation sector, inventories also improve 0.1% (3.7% y/y). Durable goods inventories gained 0.2% (1.2% y/y). Fabricated metals inventories rose 0.5% (1 .8% y/y). Machinery inventories increased 0.2% (2.6% y/y), while inventories of computers & electronic products rose 0.2% (1.5% y/y). Nondurable goods inventories eased 0.1% (+4.5% y/y) as basic chemical inventories eased 0.1% (+2.7% y/y) and apparel inventories fell 0.4% (-5.4% y/y).

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

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
New Orders -0.2 1.0 0.8 2.9 -1.9 -7.7 1.8
Shipments 0.0 -0.2 0.3 3.1 -1.8 -5.8 1.3
Unfilled Orders 0.2 0.3 -0.2 -1.4 -1.9 -2.0 8.4
Inventories 0.1 0.2 0.2 2.5 0.7 0.0 1.7
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