A new full report from the U.S. Commerce Department shows factory goods shipments and orders are continuing a nearly non-interrupted streak of increases, which combined with other evidence bodes well for the near future of trucking.
Factory shipments moved 0.9% higher in February from the month before, the fifth gain in the last six months. Shipments of manufactured durable goods also increased for the fifth out of the last six months by 1%, following a 0.7% drop in January, with shipments of transportation equipment increasing for the third out of the last four months with a 1.6% gain. Shipments of manufactured non-durable goods moved higher for the second straight month, adding 0.8%.
New orders for factory goods also were encouraging, up 3% in February from January, the second gain out of the last three months and the biggest hike in five months. It was bolstered by a 95% spike in orders for civilian aircraft. Excluding new orders for transportation, overall new orders moved up a modest 0.3%.
The report also said January's decline in orders was smaller than previously reported.
AP reports this news has led many economists to raise their growth forecasts for the overall U.S. economy. Some are predicting the gross domestic product could increase to around 3% in the January-March quarter.
The news also comes as Chrysler said it sold more cars and trucks in March than in any month since before the Great Recession, an increase of 5%. U.S. sales for GM and Ford rose 6%, adding to economists’ optimism.
A separate report released Monday by the Commerce Department says total construction spending in February increased 1.2% from a revised January estimate, totaling an annual rate of $885 billion. The February level is 7.9% higher than the same time in 2012 while during the first two months of the year the pace is 6.6% greater than during the same time last year.
Gains were reported in overall private construction, as well as residential and non-residential building in February compared to January, along with a increase in public construction.