In March, new orders for manufactured durable goods increased $5.0 billion or 2.5% to $208.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced on April 27.
This increase, up three consecutive months, followed a 0.7% February increase.
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.3%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.3%.
Transportation equipment, also up three consecutive months, had the largest increase, $3.1 billion or 5.9% to $54.7 billion.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in March, up fifteen consecutive months, increased $4.2 billion or 1.3% to $333.9 billion. This followed a 1.3% February increase.
"The growth in orders for long-lived manufactured items was widespread last month," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, Chief Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "The only declines among major industries were in fabricated metal products and non-computer electronic products. The important indicator for future capital equipment production, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, increased 3.7% in March and in the first three months of this year is 11.8% above the same time frame one year ago.
"Corporations are very profitable and have the funds to make equipment purchases without expanding bank debt," he added. "The need for such investments comes from the sustained economic growth since June 2009, albeit subpar, and the long neglect given the nation's stock of machinery and equipment. Repair, replacement, and selective upgrading is necessary. In addition, the United States has a comparative advantage in the exports of advanced machinery and equipment to emerging economies. Manufacturing exports remain a strong source of growth in manufacturing."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011, IW Staff