Factory Orders up 3.0% for March 2011

The Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for March 2011 was released today. New orders overall increased 3.0%. Removing transportation (which includes aircraft) from the numbers, new orders increased 2.6%. This report is commonly referred to as Factory Orders in the press and refers to domestic manufactured goods, both durable and non-durable. Below is the monthly percent change, overall for durable goods new orders, which increased 2.9%. This graph includes nondefense aircraft new orders.


Durable Goods


Core capital goods increased 4.1%. Below is the graph for core capital goods.


Core Capital Goods


Here is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's definition of capital goods:

The Capital Goods Industries include Nondefense : small arms and ordnance; farm machinery and equipment; construction machinery; mining, oil, and gas field machinery; industrial machinery; vending, laundry, and other machinery; photographic equipment; metalworking machinery; turbines and generators; other power transmission equipment; pumps and compressors; material handling equipment; all other machinery; electronic computers; computer storage devices; other computer peripheral equipment; communications equipment; search and navigation equipment; electromedical, measuring, and control instruments; electrical equipment; other electrical equipment, appliances, and components; heavy duty trucks; aircraft; railroad rolling stock; ships and boats; office and institutional furniture; and medical equipment and supplies.

What the press calls core capital goods is actually capital goods minus aircraft and defense. Capital goods are durable goods as well. Capital goods are also called the means of production and this is the stuff used to make stuff, so having a jump like this is some refreshing good news.

Capital goods new orders increased 4.0%, for an unusual month where aircraft did not dramatically change the monthly percentage changes. Defense capital goods new orders increased 4.9%.

Below is the breakdown in manufacturing data change, overall from last month.

  • New orders: +3.0%
    • Durable: +2.9%
    • Non-Durable: +3.1%
  • Shipments: +2.7%
    • Durable: +2.1%
    • Non-Durable: +3.1%
  • Unfilled orders: +0.8%
  • Inventories: +1.1%
    • Durable: +0.6%
    • Non-Durable: +0.9%

Turbines, generators, and other power transmission equipment increased 43.1% and ships, boats increased 161.5%.

Shipments, inventories will affect the Q1 GDP second revision, and should help revise Q1 GDP upward.

For more details here is the website for manufacturing data, since the data from this report for March was estimated for the advance Q1 GDP report release.

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