New orders for manufactured durable goods in February increased $5.5 billion or 3.4 percent to $165.6 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase follows six consecutive monthly decreases, including a 7.3 percent January decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 3.9 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.7 percent.
-- This is the first increase in 7 months.
-- January's orders dropped hard -- 7.3%
In other words, if we're looking for a trend, it's down. This would be the equivalent of a bear market rally.
In addition, the non-seasonally adjusted numbers for total year to date new orders are down 28.4% -- hardly a great situation. Excluding transportation, that number is -22.4%. In other words, transportation isn't the problem; manufacturing as a whole is.
The uptick is of course welcome news. However, after placing it in context, we learn we have a long way to go before we've seen an industrial rebound.