Bad Economic Reports? Yes, But They Were Supposed To Be Bad

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in April, up two consecutive months, increased $0.6 billion or 0.2 percent to $425.3 billion, unchanged from the previously published increase. This followed a 0.5 percent March increase. Transportation equipment, up twenty-one of the last twenty-two months, led the increase, $0.4 billion or 0.3 percent to $143.0 billion. Inventories of manufactured nondurable goods, down four consecutive months, decreased $3.2 billion or 1.2 percent to $261.2 billion. This followed a 3.5 percent March decrease. Petroleum and coal products, also down four consecutive months, drove the decrease, $3.7 billion or 12.1 percent to $27.1 billion. By stage of fabrication, April materials and supplies increased 2.3 percent in durable goods and decreased 1.2 percent in nondurable goods. Work in process decreased 0.7 percent in durable goods and 1.5 percent in nondurable goods. Finished goods decreased 1.2 percent in durable goods and 1.1 percent in nondurable goods.

Shocking? No

The Econoday consensus estimate was -14.0% nearly on the mark.

ISM Non-Manufacturing Index

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ISM Non-Manufacturing Index May 2020

The Econonday consensus was nearly on the mark a 44.0 ve the report NMI of 45.4.

The most noteworthy item was supplier deliveries slowing for 12 months. 

That item tells you the economy was cooling rapidly even before Covid-19 hit.

Construction Spending

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Construction Spending April 2020

Yesterday, the Census Department published the Construction Spending Report for April.

It was a little better than expected. The Econoday consensus was -5.5% and the report came in at -2.9%.

But the Census Department revised March down to 0.0% from +0.9% so the consensus estimate was close to the mark.

Here it is June, and we are looking at economic reports or revisions for March in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic.


Reader complaints are pouring in. People want me to talk about the economy even though most of the reports are useless.

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