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IndustryNet Blog

New Orders for U.S. Manufactured Goods Rebound from Pandemic Lows

Posted by IndustryNet on Monday, June 29, 2020


The U.S. Department of Commerce reported June 25th that new orders for U.S. manufactured goods shot up 15.8 percent in May, recovering some of the steep coronavirus-related losses suffered in March and April.

New orders for U.S. manufactured goods stood at $194.4 billion for the month of May, compared to $167.8 billion in April.

May’s significant gain was overwhelmingly led by the transportation equipment sector, which rocketed by an unprecedented 80.7%. Transportation equipment orders stood at $46.9 billion in May.

Additional industries posting significant gains in new orders included motor vehicles & parts (+27.5%); primary metals (+9.1%); fabricated metals (+7.1%); and computers & related products (+4.2%). fabricated metals (+%); motor vehicles & parts (-1.6%) and fabricated metals (-1.5%). Notably, all manufacturing subsectors posted a gain in new orders – the reverse of April and March’s report in which most sectors posted a loss.

Shipments Surge, Led by Transportation Equipment

Shipments of manufactured goods jolted up 4.4% in May to $198.5 billion, following sharp declines for April and March. May’s increase was led by the transportation equipment industry, which posted a gain of 12.1% over April.

Additional sectors posting notable shipment gains include computers & related products (+4%); electrical equipment, appliances and components (+3.7%); fabricated metals (+2.9%) and primary metals (+1.7%).

As with new orders, all manufacturing subsectors showed a gain in shipments for the month.

Unfilled Orders on the Rise, Inventories Keep Growing

The number of unfilled orders for durable manufactured goods rose in May, after falling for two consecutive months in March and April. The number of unfilled orders rose 0.1% in May to a level of $1.1 billion.

Inventories have been rising for the past three months. Transportation equipment has been leading the increase in inventories, which have risen in that sector for the past twenty-two months.

Capital Goods Ratchet Up

Non-defense orders for capital goods increased sharply in May, up 27.1% to a current level of $62.8 billion.

On the defense end of capital goods orders, shipments rose 0.4% to $63.5 billion, as did inventories, up 0.6% to $191.2 billion. Non-defense unfilled orders fell 0.1%.

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