Factory orders up 1.3% in February
April 3, 2012
New orders for manufactured goods rose $6 billion, or 1.3%, to $468.4 billion in February from January levels, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. This increase followed a 1.1% decline in January, but factory orders have risen in three of the last four months. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.9%. The estimates suggest near-term improvement in freight shipments.
Shipments rose for the ninth straight month, increasing by a slight $300 million, or 0.1%, to $462.6 billion. Unfilled orders increased $12.1 billion, or 1.3%, to $931.1 billion and have now risen for 22 of the past 23 months. Inventories ticked up $2.2 billion, or 0.4%, to $616.8 billion and have now increased in 28 of the last 29 months.
The Census Bureau revised slightly higher its initial estimate of durable goods orders, saying that they rose 2.4% rather than the previously reported 2.2%. Durable goods orders are up in four of the last five months, although the January decline was sizeable at 3.5%.
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