The Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders report shows factory new orders declined by -0.2% for January. The reason was most likely oil as nondurable goods new orders plunged by -3.1%. Petroleum refinery shipments give another clue as they plunged by -11.6%. Durable goods new orders by themselves increased 2.8%. Transportation new orders propped up overall factory orders as without them, new orders would have declined -1.8%. December Factory Orders dropped by -3.5%. This is the sixth month in a row factory orders has declined. The Census manufacturing statistical release is called Factory Orders by the press and covers both durable and non-durable manufacturing orders, shipments and inventories.
Transportation equipment new orders increased 9.7% , but that's all volatile nondefense aircraft, which increased 128.7%. Motor vehicles bodies & parts new orders had no change at all.
Core capital goods new orders increased by 0.5%. The previous month showed a -0.5% decline, which basically makes core capital goods new orders for two months a net zero. Core capital goods are capital or business investment goods and excludes defense and aircraft. This is indicating slower economic growth.
Nondurable goods is having a rough time with a -3.1% drop. The previous month was a -3.3% decline. Manufactured durable goods new orders, increased 2.8%, yet December durable goods new orders decreased by -3.7%.
Shipments overall decreased -2.0%. Nondurable goods shipments depth charged with a -3.1% loss as petroleum shipments nose dived by -11.6%. Core capital goods shipments increased 0.1%, or barely nudged. Core capital goods shipments go into the GDP calculation. Below is a graph of core capital goods shipments.
Inventories for manufacturing overall declined -0.4%. Again we see oil impacting inventories dramatically. Durable goods inventories increased 0.4% while nondurables decreased -1.7%. Petroleum refineries inventories plunged by -11.3% as gasoline producers are obviously desperate to decrease supply and push prices back up.
The inventory to shipments ratio increased to 1.36. Increasing ratios can imply economic sluggishness.
Unfilled Ordersdecreased -0.2%. Core capital goods unfilled orders had no change and in durable goods decreased -0.2%.
Part of this report goes into calculating GDP. The BEA takes this report, called M3, and uses the shipments values to calculate investment in private equipment, investment in software. Manufacturing inventories also goes into the changes in private inventories GDP calculation. At the bottom of this post is a little more information to estimate part of the GDP investment component.
The St. Louis Federal Reserve FRED graphing system has added individual NAICS data series from this report. If you're looking for a graph of some particular NAICS category, such as light trucks, autos & parts, or machinery, it might be found on FRED. Most news outlets source the Commerce Department, while technically correct, also makes it impossible for you, our beloved detailed reader, to find the actual statistical report and data which you might be focused in on. There is much more detail in the statistical tables published by the Census website for manufacturing statistics.