The Census Bureau today released data on advance manufactured durable goods shipments, inventories, and orders. In March, new orders for manufactured durable goods rose 2.5 percent to $208.4 billion, building off of increases in the two previous months of 3.7 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. The strongest gains in March were in transportation equipment, machinery, capital goods, and primary metals. Communications equipment and fabricated metal products experienced declines in new orders in March.
Shipments and inventories were also up overall for the month, growing by 1.8 percent and 1.3 percent respectively. The biggest gainer in each of these figures was in transportation equipment.
Overall, these numbers mirror other recent trends which show upward movement in durable goods manufacturing, as illustrated in the accompanying chart. The positive growth trajectory for industrial production in general, or with durable goods manufacturing specifically as in these figures, bodes well for economic growth in the coming months.
Chad Moutray is chief economist of the National Association of Manufacturers.