The Census Bureau reported that new manufactured goods orders rose to $496.7 billion in June, an all-time high. This was an increase of 1.5 percent increase for the month. But, as we noted when durable goods data were released last week, the broader data reflect weaknesses beyond the aircraft sector. If you exclude transportation orders (which also include higher motor vehicle sales), new factory orders would have declined 0.4 percent. Non-transportation durable goods were off 0.1 percent, with nondurable goods down 0.6 percent.
Outside of airplanes, there were areas of strength for new durable goods orders. These included higher June sales numbers for machinery (up 2.6 percent), motor vehicle and parts (up 2.0 percent), and furniture and related products (up 1.6 percent). In contrast, the largest declines were seen in the electronic equipment and appliances (down 1.8 percent), computers and electronics (down 1.7 percent), and primary metals (down 1.5 percent) sectors.
Meanwhile, shipments of manufactured goods were down 0.4 percent, with lower durable and nondurable goods figures (down 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively). Year-to-date, shipments have declined 0.1 percent, reflecting softness in the manufacturing sector in the first six months of the year. With that said, there were some areas of growth. In June, there were higher shipments reported in the automobile (up 2.9 percent), primary metals (up 2.1 percent), nonmetallic mineral products (up 1.1 percent), and computer electronics (up 0.9 percent) sectors.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.