The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Durable Goods New Orders Up 4% in March

Transportation equipment led the increase with 13.5 percent growth.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased 4 percent to $240.2 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This increase, up two of the last three months, followed a 1.4 percent February decrease.

Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.6 percent. Transportation equipment, also up two of the last three months, led the increase, up 13.5 percent to $80.3 billion.

"The March report revealed broad weakness in durable goods demand, as exhibited by contractions in orders for primary metals, fabricated metals, and machinery," said Cliff Waldman, director of economic studies for the MAPI Foundation, the research affiliate of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. "These corroborate other data showing that U.S. manufacturing growth slowed widely and significantly in the early months of this year.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $2.7 billion or 1.1 percent to $246.7 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent February decrease.

Transportation equipment, up three of the last four months, drove the increase, $3.2 billion or 4.3 percent to $78 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in March, up following three consecutive monthly decreases, increased $0.3 billion or slightly to $1,156.4 billion. This followed a 0.5 percent February decrease.

Transportation equipment, also up following three consecutive monthly decreases, drove the increase, $2.3 billion or 0.3 percent to $734.5 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in March, up 23 of the last 24 months, increased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $412.9 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.2 percent February increase.

Computers and electronic products, up seven of the last eight months, drove the increase, $0.3 billion or 0.7 percent to $50.1 billion.

Nondefense new orders for capital goods in March increased $2.7 billion or 3.5 percent to $80.2 billion. Shipments decreased $0.3 billion or 0.4 percent to $79.7 billion. Unfilled orders increased $0.5 billion or 0.1 percent to $728.6 billion. Inventories increased $0.1 billion or 0.1 percent to $186.7 billion.

Defense new orders for capital goods in March increased $1.4 billion or 17 percent to $9.5 billion. Shipments increased $0.8 billion or 8.8 percent to $9.9 billion. Unfilled orders decreased $0.4 billion or 0.3 percent to $152.1 billion. Inventories decreased $0.3 billion or 1.1 percent to $24.5 billion.

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