Transportation manufacturers such as Chrysler led the February increase in manufacturing shipments and new orders Here robots work on the underbody sealing and coating of the 2015 Chrysler 200 inside Chryslerrsquos Sterling Heights Mich assembly plant Chrysler

Transportation manufacturers such as Chrysler led the February increase in manufacturing shipments and new orders. Here, robots work on the underbody sealing and coating of the 2015 Chrysler 200 inside Chrysler’s Sterling Heights, Mich. assembly plant.

Transportation Leads February Increase in Manufacturing Orders

One step forward after two steps back. New orders for manufactured goods rose 1.6% in February after drops the two previous months, the Commerce Department reported today, signaling a recovery from winter disruptions to production and shipping. Orders increased $7.5 billion to $488.8 billion for the month.

New orders for durable goods were up 2.2%, led by the transportation sector, which was up $4.7 billion or 7.0% to $71.4 billion in February. Nondurable goods were also up, by 1% or $2.7 billion to $259.7 billion.

But new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a barometer of business confidence, fell 1.4% in February after a 0.8% increase in January.

“Taken together, January and February were bland, but we need more data to determine just how much of this blandness was weather-related,” information services firm IHS noted.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods increased $1.9 billion, or 0.8%, to $233.8 billion, less than the 0.9% in Commerce’s preliminary report. Transportation equipment led the increase, up $1.0 billion or 1.5% to $68.8 billion. Shipments of manufactured nondurable goods increased 1.0% to $259.7 billion after a 0.7% decrease in January. Petroleum and coal products, up three of the last four months, increased $1.4 billion or 2.0% to $74.0 billion.

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods, up 12 of the last 13 months, increased $2.9 billion or 0.3% to $1.06 trillion. This was the highest level since 1992, the department stated, and followed a slight January increase. Transportation equipment led the increase, up $2.7 billion or 0.4% to $659.4 billion.

Inventories of manufactured goods, up 14 of the last 15 months, increased $4.1 billion or 0.7% to $642.1 billion. Inventories of durable goods were up 0.8% to $392.0 billion while inventories of nondurable goods increased 0.4% to $250.0 billion.

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