New orders for manufactured durable goods in April decreased $1.0 billion or 0.5% to $214.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. This was the third decrease in four months and followed a 0.3% March decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.5%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 0.3%.
Transportation equipment, down three of the last four months, had the largest decrease, $4.8 billion or 8.0% to $56.1 billion.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in April, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $2.5 billion or 1.2% to $212.2 billion. This followed a 0.9% March decrease. Computers and electronic products, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, had the largest increase, $1.4 billion or 4.3% to $32.8 billion.
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in April, up twenty-six of the last twenty-seven months, increased $7.6 billion or 1.0% to $804.5 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first stated on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 1.3% March increase.
Machinery, up ten of the last eleven months, had the largest increase, $3.1 billion or 3.3% to $97.5 billion.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in April, up nine of the last ten months, increased $1.7 billion or 0.5% to $328.6 billion. This was also at the highest level since the series was first stated on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 1.0% March increase.
Transportation equipment, up nineteen of the last twenty months, had the largest increase, $0.6 billion or 0.7% to $85.4 billion.
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in April decreased $1.0 billion or 1.4% to $74.4 billion. Shipments increased $0.9 billion or 1.3% to $67.6 billion. Unfilled orders increased $6.8 billion or 1.5% to $465.6 billion. Inventories increased $0.7 billion or 0.6% to $134.3 billion.
Defense new orders for capital goods in April increased $0.4 billion or 4.8% to $8.8 billion.
Shipments increased $0.4 billion or 4.5% to $9.0 billion. Unfilled orders decreased $0.3 billion or 0.2% to $136.8 billion. Inventories increased $0.3 billion or 1.7% to $19.3 billion.
Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, regarding the Durable Goods report for April 2008:
The good news in the report is that nondefense capital goods orders, excluding aircraft, gained 4.3 percent in April after declining 1 percent in March and 0.9 percent in February. Nondefense capital goods orders, excluding aircraft, is a leading indicator of business equipment spending in the GDP accounts.
“The report indicates that the real weakness in this recession is the consumer sector, not business investment. Business equipment investment was not overdone in the expansion and there are very few excesses to work off. Fortunately, the dollar is falling in value which increases the competitiveness of made products in international markets. The resulting strong export growth for