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In The News:

New Orders for Durable Goods Up 0.2% in April

May 25, 2012
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New orders for manufactured durable goods in April increased $0.3 billion or 0.2 percent to $215.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. This increase, up two of the last three months, followed a 3.7 percent March decrease.

Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.2 percent. Transportation equipment, also up two of the last three months, had the largest increase, $1.3 billion or 2.1 percent to $62.2 billion. This was due to motor vehicles and parts, which increased $2.3 billion.

"We believe there is pent-up demand for motor vehicles and capital goods because much investment was postponed during the recession," says Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). "High operating rates in manufacturing, new job creation, and low interest rates are conducive to capital spending. When the year-to-date performance of durable goods orders is put into the context of the very modest growth in the overall economy, the activity in heavy machinery and equipment is seen as a growth leader."

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in April, up four of the last five months, increased $1.5 billion or 0.7 percent to $222.7 billion. This followed a 1.0 percent March increase. Transportation equipment, also up four of the last five months, had the largest increase, $1.9 billion or 3.1 percent to $63.8 billion. This followed a 2.3 percent March increase.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in April, down following twenty-seven consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.7 billion or 0.1 percent to $985.3 billion. This followed a slight March increase. Transportation equipment, down two consecutive months, had the largest decrease, $1.6 billion or 0.3 percent to $566.4 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in April, up twenty-seven of the last twenty-eight months, increased $1.1 billion or 0.3 percent to $364.1 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.4 percent March increase. Machinery, up twenty-five of the last twenty-six months, had the largest increase, $1.1 billion or 1.7 percent to $65.2 billion. This was also at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis.

Nondefense new orders for capital goods in April decreased $0.1 billion or 0.2 percent to $70.0 billion. Shipments decreased $0.3 billion or 0.5 percent to $69.6 billion. Unfilled orders increased $0.4 billion or 0.1 percent to $584.5 billion. Inventories increased $1.3 billion or 0.8 percent to $166.3 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods in April decreased $1.8 billion or 21.5 percent to $6.6 billion. Shipments decreased $0.8 billion or 9.0 percent to $7.7 billion. Unfilled orders decreased $1.1 billion or 0.7 percent to $164.0 billion. Inventories increased $0.3 billion or 1.6 percent to $20.7 billion.

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