New orders for manufactured goods in March, up four of the last five months, increased $11.9 billion or 3.1 percent to $400.2 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 1.4 percent February increase. Shipments, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $5.9 billion or 1.5 percent to $392.9 billion. This followed a 0.6 percent February decrease. Unfilled orders, up twenty-two of the last twenty-three months, increased $12.9 billion or 1.8 percent to $717.3 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first stated on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 1.1 percent February increase. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 4.92, up from 4.88 in February. Inventories, up twelve of the last thirteen months, increased $1.0 billion or 0.2 percent to $484.0 billion. This followed a slight February increase. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.23, down from 1.25 in February.
Looking at the numbers, we have a 1.5% increase excluding transportation and a 4.5% increase excluding defense.
There was a 12.3% increase in communications equipment and a 4.2% increase in machinery.
However, the unadjusted orders are down .3% Y/Y, largely because of poor y/y comparisons in communications equipment and computers/electronics.
This is a solid report, and dovetails with yesterday's increase in the ISM. It confirms that manufacturing may be coming out of a slump. However, we need a few more months of data before we are completely out of the woods.