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Manufacturing Remains Big Engine Driving Recession Recovery

03/31/2010
Demand for industrial machinery helped drive an increase in factory orders in February, marking the tenth increase in the past 11 months and illustrating that manufacturing remains a primary recession recovery segment.

New orders for manufactured goods in February increased $2.1 billion or 0.6 percent to $383.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 2.5 percent January increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.7 percent.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in February, up three consecutive months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.9 percent to $178.5 billion, revised from the previously published 0.5 percent increase. This followed a 3.8 percent January increase.

Machinery, up three of the last four months, had the largest increase, $1.1 billion or 5.1 percent to $23.1 billion.

New orders for manufactured nondurable goods increased $0.6 billion or 0.3 percent to $205.1 billion.

Unfilled orders, up two consecutive months, increased $3.3 billion or 0.5 percent to $722.2 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent January increase. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 5.55, up from 5.51 in January.

Inventories, up four of the last five months, increased $2.5 billion or 0.5 percent to $498.3 billion. This followed a 0.3 percent January increase. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.29, unchanged from January.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, down two consecutive months, decreased $1.0 billion or 0.6 percent to $179.8 billion, unchanged from the previously published decrease. This followed a 0.1 percent January decrease.

Transportation equipment, also down two consecutive months, had the largest decrease, $1.6 billion or 3.5 percent to $43.8 billion.

Shipments of manufactured nondurable goods, up ten of the last eleven months, increased $0.6 billion or 0.3 percent to $205.1 billion. This followed a 1.3 percent January increase. Chemical products drove the increase, up $0.8 billion or 1.5 percent to $54.0 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in February, up two consecutive months, increased $3.3 billion or 0.5 percent to $722.2 billion, revised from the previously published 0.4 percent increase. This followed a 0.2 percent January increase.

Transportation equipment, up two consecutive months, had the largest increase, $2.2 billion or 0.5 percent to $413.3 billion.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, up two consecutive months, increased $1.1 billion or 0.4 percent to $304.0 billion, revised from the previously published 0.3 percent increase. This followed a 0.1 percent January increase.

Primary metals, up four consecutive months, had the largest increase, $0.4 billion or 1.6 percent to $26.5 billion.

Inventories of manufactured nondurable goods, up four of the last five months, increased $1.4 billion or 0.7 percent to $194.3 billion. This followed a 0.6 percent January increase. Petroleum and coal products led the increase, up $1.3 billion or 4.0 percent to $33.5 billion.

By stage of fabrication, February materials and supplies decreased 0.2 percent in durable goods and increased 2.0 percent in nondurable goods. Work in process increased 1.1 percent in durable goods and 0.2 percent in nondurable goods. Finished goods decreased slightly in durable goods and 0.1 percent in nondurable goods.

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