Mixed Bag For Manufacturers In Factory Orders, Income Data

The Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods in July fell 0.6 percent, to $405.1 billion, but the pullback was better than the 1.0 percent decline that was expected. Shipments, up two of the last three months, increased $0.1 billion to $403.9 billion, on the heels of a 0.1 percent June decrease.

The long weekend may be quickly approaching, but there are loads of economic data to digest before it’s time start enjoying your beverage of choice. Thursday’s numbers, in the form of factory orders and personal income and spending, offered up mixed results for manufacturers.

The Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods in July fell 0.6 percent, to $405.1 billion, but the pullback was better than the 1.0 percent decline that was expected. Shipments, up two of the last three months, increased $0.1 billion to $403.9 billion, on the heels of a 0.1 percent June decrease.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July fell 2.5 percent to $211.3 billion, revised from the previously published 2.4 percent decrease. Unfilled orders, up fourteen of the last fifteen months, increased $8.2 billion, or 1.3 percent, to $630.2 billion, the highest level since the series was first stated on a NAICS basis in 1992.

Meanwhile, inventories increased $3.0 billion, or 0.6 percent, to $473.0 billion following a 0.9 percent June increase. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.17, up from 1.16 in June.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in July decreased 1.3 percent, and shipments of manufactured nondurable goods increased 1.6 percent, led by chemical products, which increased 3.0 percent.

Separately, the Commerce Department said personal spending jumped by 0.8 percent in July, suggesting the recent slowdown in the U.S economy may be less worrisome than some had feared.

Spending for the month doubled the 0.4 percent advance seen in June, while personal income rose by 0.5 percent in July. The increase in spending marked the largest jump since January, when the increase was 0.9 percent.

The government said manufacturing payrolls increased $2.1 billion, versus an increase of $3.6 billion in June. Goods-producing industries’ payrolls increased $3.5 billion, versus $8 billion in June, and services-producing payrolls jumped $30.4 billion, compared with $24.8 billion in June.

Better news for manufacturers is that spending on durable goods – items meant to last for more than three years – rose by 1.6 percent in July, versus the 1.0 percent increase in June, with purchases of motor vehicles and parts accounting for most of the increase. Purchases on non0durabek goods rose by 0.4 percent, compared with 0.2 percent in June, and services purchases increased 0.4 percent versus 0.1 percent the month before.

The government’s price index for personal consumption spending, excluding food and energy, rose by 0.1 percent, on the heels of June’s 0.2 percent increase. Measured against a year ago that index, which is a favorite of the Federal Reserve’s in monitoring inflation, is up 2.4 percent, having risen 2.3 percent in June.

On Friday, the Institute for Supply Management will unveil its manufacturing report for August, and data on unemployment, consumer confidence and home sales will also be released.

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