Durable Goods New Orders Spotlight A Manufacturing Slowdown

A close look at durable goods new orders shows the manufacturing recovery has slowed.

The Census Bureau report on Durable Goods New Orders and Shipments shows growth in new orders has slowed to a crawl.

New Orders Month-Over-Month 

Durable Goods New Orders Percent Change Month Over Month 2020-08

These month over month comparisons are wildly distorted. 

But for those interested, the recovery continued for a fourth month with new orders up a tiny 0.4% vs an econoday consensus of 1.5%.

Durable Goods New Orders 1993-Present

Durable Goods New Orders Millions of Dollars 2020-08 Long TermA

Durable Goods New Orders Percent Change From Year Ago

Durable Goods New Orders Percent Change From a Year Ago 2020-08

The above chart is the worst looking yet. It shows a rolling decline in manufacturing that started mid-2018. 

Percent changes month over month for aircraft were so wild I had to remove them to prevent severe chart distortions.

One of the best ways to see the COVID impact is to look at year-to-date totals on new orders and shipments.

Year-to-Date Highlights

  • New Orders: -11.3%
  • Shipments: -8.6%
  • New Orders Excluding Transportation: -3.0%
  • Shipments Excluding Transportation: -2.8%
  • New Orders Excluding Defense: -12.3%
  • Shipments Excluding Defense: -9.1%

Government military spending added a percentage point to the recovery in durable goods.

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