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Durable Goods Orders Drop 1.1% in February in First Since April

March 25, 2021
Transportation equipment orders led the trend.

New orders of manufactured durable goods fell in February 2021, ending a nine-month growth streak from May 2020, according to the latest report from the Census Bureau. New orders of durable goods in February fell to $254.0 billion, down 1.1% or $2.9 billion from $256.9 billion.

Transportation equipment orders led the trend, falling 1.6% or $1.3 billion to $83.6 billion in February and accounting for 0.2% of the overall drop in durable goods orders. Orders for motor vehicles and parts declined 8.7%.

Mirroring the drop in new orders, shipments of manufactured goods fell by $9.1 billion to $250.9 billion, a drop of 3.5%. Transportation equipment shipments fell by 8.2% to $78.6 billion, a loss of $7.0 billion. Unfilled orders increased by 0.8% to $1.08 trillion, with transportation equipment inventory accounting for $5.0 billion of the $8.4 billion increase. Inventories rose $2.8 billion while transportation equipment inventories rose by $0.9 billion.

Analysts cited by the Agence France-Presse said that severe winter weather was likely the cause of much of the downturn, with harsh winter storms wreaking havoc to Texas’ electrical grid and hammering nearby states as well.

Defense-related new orders for capital goods decreased, falling 10.6% and $1.6 billion to $13.5 billion. In a sign the overall trend of the recovery will recover, though, nondefense capital goods orders rose $4.2 billion or 5.6% to $79.6 billion. Shipments of capital goods fell 2.9%, unfilled capital goods orders rose 0.9%, and inventories rose slightly. 

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