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New orders for manufactured durable goods in February increased $5.5 billion or 3.4% to $165.6 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced in the advance report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders. This increase follows six consecutive monthly decreases, including a 7.3% January decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 3.9%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.7%.
Cliff Waldman, economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, said that the "welcome turn in big ticket demand" should be "interpreted with caution," though he does point out that it may indicate that the U.S. is close to or at the bottom of the business cycle.
"The modest signs of stability in the U.S. economy are early and could be attributed to one-time factors," he said in a statement at www.mapi.net. "And the global picture is still unequivocally dark with dramatic economic and manufacturing declines in the Eurozone and Japan, and a worse-than-expected economic slowdown in large emerging market nations including Brazil, India, and China. … at the moment, there is still a long way to go and considerable downside risk for the U.S. factory sector.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, down seven consecutive months, decreased $0.9 billion or 0.5% to $179.1 billion. This followed a 5.2% January decrease.
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in February, down five consecutive months, decreased $10.5 billion or 1.3% to $773.7 billion. This followed a 2.0% January decrease.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, down two consecutive months, decreased $2.9 billion or 0.9% to $336.8 billion. This followed a 1.1% January decrease.
Capital Goods Industries
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in February increased $3.6 billion or 7.4% to $52.8 billion.
Defense new orders for capital goods in February increased $2.6 billion or 35.3% to $10.0 billion.