10 Things to Know About May’s Durable Goods Report

June 23, 2015
A drop in aircraft orders puts the May durable goods report in a nosedive.

1. New orders for manufactured durable goods in the U.S. fell 1.8% in May, to $228.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. Analysts had expected orders to fall 0.5% last month.

2. Durable goods orders fell 1.5% in April and have been down three of the last four months. MAPI economist Cliff Waldman said recent mixed economic data "suggest moderate, hesitant growth" for the U.S.

3. Transportation equipment led the decrease in May, down 6.4% to $71.7 billion. The May drop “mainly reflected reduced aircraft sales for the month,” noted NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray.

4. Not counting transportation, new orders increased 0.5% to $157.2 billion. New orders were up for primary metals, fabricated metal products, machinery and computers and electronic equipment.

5. Shipments of manufactured durables in May decreased 0.1% to $239.9 billion. Shipments also fell 0.2% in April.

6. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but capital goods shipments and orders also fell in May. Capital goods shipments were off 0.5% to $88.7 billion, while new orders slipped 5.2% to $83.0 billion.

7. Silver lining time – Excluding aircraft, capital goods shipments were up a modest 0.3% to $69.4 billion and new orders were up 0.4% to $68.5 billion.

8. After an increase of 0.2% in April, the 23rd month in a row, inventories of manufactured durable goods decreased 0.2% to $400.6 billion.

9. Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods were down $5.7 billion, or 0.5% to $1,195.5 billion.

10. Compared to May 2014, durable goods shipments were up 2.8% and new orders were off 2.2%.

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Steve Minter | Steve Minter, Executive Editor

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An award-winning editor, Executive Editor Steve Minter covers leadership, global economic and trade issues and energy, tackling subject matter ranging from CEO profiles and leadership theories to economic trends and energy policy. As well, he supervises content development for editorial products including the magazine,, research and information products, and conferences.

Before joining the IW staff, Steve was publisher and editorial director of Penton Media’s EHS Today, where he was instrumental in the development of the Champions of Safety and America’s Safest Companies recognition programs.

Steve received his B.A. in English from Oberlin College. He is married and has two adult children.

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