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New Orders for Durable Goods Up 0.7% in March

New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $5 billion or 2.5 percent to $208.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced in an advance report. This increase followed a 0.7 percent February increase.

Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.3 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.3 percent. Transportation equipment, also up three consecutive months, had the largest increase, $3.1 billion or 5.9 percent to $54.7 billion.

"The growth in orders for long-lived manufactured items was widespread last month. The only declines among major industries were in fabricated metal products and non-computer electronic products," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI.

"Corporations are very profitable and have the funds to make equipment purchases without expanding bank debt," he added. "The need for such investments comes from the sustained economic growth since June 2009, albeit subpar, and the long neglect given the nation's stock of machinery and equipment. Repair, replacement, and selective upgrading is necessary. In addition, the United States has a comparative advantage in the exports of advanced machinery and equipment to emerging economies. Manufacturing exports remain a strong source of growth in manufacturing."

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March, up five consecutive months, increased $3.7 billion or 1.8 percent to $207.3 billion. This followed a 0.5 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, up four consecutive months, had the largest increase, $1.6 billion or 3.3 percent to $51.1 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in March, up eleven of the last twelve months, increased $6.6 billion or 0.8 percent to $843.4 billion. This followed a 0.7 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, up three consecutive months, had the largest increase, $3.6 billion or 0.8 percent to $482.0 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in March, up fifteen consecutive months, increased $4.2 billion or 1.3 percent to $333.9 billion. This followed a 1.3 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, also up fifteen consecutive months, had the largest increase, $1.7 billion or 1.9 percent to $89.8 billion.

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