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Economy in Brief

U.S. Factory Orders Surge With More Aircraft Orders
by Tom Moeller  October 5, 2017

Manufacturing sector orders increased 1.2% during August (5.8% y/y) following an unrevised 3.3% July decline. Durable goods orders rose 2.0% (5.4% y/y), revised from the advance report of a 1.7% gain. That followed a 6.8% decline. Transportation sector orders improved 5.1% (3.4% y/y) due to a 44.8% surge in commercial aircraft bookings. Orders outside of the transportation sector rose 0.4% (6.3% y/y). Computer & electronic product orders increased 1.0% (3.7% y/y). Machinery orders gained 0.3% (7.1% y/y), while electrical equipment and appliance orders rose 1.7% (-0.4% y/y).

Total factory sector shipments gained 0.5% (5.6% y/y), the strongest increase since December. Durable goods shipments rose 0.5% (4.9% y/y). Transportation equipment shipments improved 2.3% (2.7% y/y). Auto shipments strengthened 6.2% (-7.3% y/y) while light truck shipments increased 1.1% (+3.5% y/y). Civilian aircraft shipments were off 11.5% (-0.4% y/y). Excluding the transportation sector, shipments rose 0.6% (6.2% y/y). Shipments of machinery improved 1.7% in August (7.7% y/y) while computer & electronic product shipments gained 0.6% (3.4% y/y).

Nondurable goods shipments (which equal orders) rose 0.4% (6.2% y/y). The value of petroleum refinery shipments gained 2.6% (23.7% y/y). Basic chemical shipments eased 0.3% (+2.5% y/y), and textile product shipments declined 1.2% (-1.5% y/y). Shipments of apparel fell 1.4% (+2.9% y/y) while food product shipments eased 0.1 % (+7.2% y/y).

Unfilled orders held steady m/m (+0.8% y/y) following a 0.3% decline. Outside of the transportation sector, unfilled orders rose 0.3% (4.0% y/y). Electrical equipment & appliance backlogs improved 0.1% (6.8% y/y) while computer & electronic product backlogs also gained 0.1% (2.4% y/y). Unfilled orders for machinery increased 0.4% (3.9% y/y).

Inventories at the factory level rose 0.4% (2.8% y/y) in August. Outside of the transportation sector, inventories increased 0.6% (3.8% y/y). Durable goods inventories gained 0.4% (2.7% y/y). Fabricated metals inventories strengthened 0.6% (4.7% y/y). Machinery inventories increased 0.9% (5.2% y/y) while inventories of computers & electronic products rose 0.6% (3.3% y/y). Nondurable goods inventories improved 0.6% (2.9% y/y) while apparel inventories increased 0.4% (-9.4% y/y). The value of petroleum refinery inventories increased 4.3% (18.1% y/y).

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

Factory Sector- NAICS Classification (%) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
New Orders 1.2 -3.3 3.2 5.8 -1.9 -7.7 1.8
Shipments 0.5 0.2 0.1 5.6 -1.8 -5.8 1.3
Unfilled Orders 0.0 -0.3 1.3 0.8 -1.9 -2.0 8.4
Inventories 0.4 0.4 0.3 2.8 0.7 0.0 1.7
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