Orders for transport equipment jumped 7.0 percent in March (percent vs -2.9 percent in February), driven by civilian aircraft (31.2 percent vs -25.4 percent), aircraft and parts (17.7 percent vs 4.9 percent) and motor vehicles and parts (2.1 percent vs a flat reading). Demand also increased for machinery (0.3 percent vs -0.7 percent) and computers and electronic products (2.2 percent vs 0.3 percent). Meanwhile, demand for electrical equipment, appliances, and components slowed (0.1 percent vs 1.1 percent), namely primary metals (-0.2 percent vs 0.7 percent).
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, advanced 1.3 percent, after increasing 0.1 percent in February, boosted by a jump in demand for computers and electronic products. It was the largest increase since July last year.
Excluding transportation, new orders edged up 0.4 percent (vs -0.2 percent in February). Excluding defense, new orders rose 2.3 percent (vs -1.7 percent in February).
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March, up four of the last five months, increased $0.9 billion or 0.3 percent to $259.6 billion. This followed a 0.3 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, drove the increase, $1.0 billion or 1.1 percent to $90.7
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in March, up two of the last three months, increased $3.2 billion or 0.3 percent to $1,181.9 billion. This followed a 0.2 percent February decrease. Transportation equipment, also up two of the last three months, led the increase, $3.1 billion or 0.4 percent to $811.9 billion.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in March, up twenty-six of the last twenty-seven months, increased $1.4 billion or 0.3 percent to $420.5 billion. This followed a 0.4 percent February increase. Machinery, up fifteen of the last sixteen months, led the increase, $0.7 billion or 1.0 percent to $71.6 billion.
Non-defense new orders for capital goods in March increased $4.9 billion or 6.5 percent to $80.5 billion. Shipments increased less than $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $79.0 billion. Unfilled orders increased $1.4 billion or 0.2 percent to $708.2 billion. Inventories increased $1.3 billion or 0.7 percent to $184.9 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods in March increased $1.0 billion or 7.4 percent to $13.9 billion. Shipments increased $0.1 billion or 1.0 percent to $12.6 billion. Unfilled orders increased $1.4 billion or 0.9 percent to $158.1 billion. Inventories increased $0.2 billion or 0.8 percent to $23.1 billion.