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Economic Watch: Factory Shipments, Orders Hit Record Highs

September 3, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

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Photo: Evan Lockridge
Photo: Evan Lockridge

Shipments of U.S. manufactured goods increased again in July, while new orders for them skyrocketed, with both hitting record high levels going back to 1992.

A new U. S. Commerce Department report shows that orders increased 10.5% from June, following a 1.5% gain the month before and marking the fifth hike out of the last six months. Excluding transportation products, however, new orders declined 0.8% in July.

Of these new orders, those for manufactured durable goods, those designed to last three years or more, increased 22.6% in July from the month before, the fifth increase out of the last six months and another record high, following a 2.7% June gain. This was led by a 74.1% gain in new transportation equipment orders.

Total shipments of manufactured goods increased 1.2% in July from the month before, following a 0.8% gain in June. Of these, shipments of manufactured durable goods, updated since a report last month, increased at an upwardly revised 3.5% in July from June, another record high level, following a 1.2% gain the month before.

Transportation equipment, up two straight months in July, led the increase in manufactured durable goods shipments, gaining 8.1% from June. Shipments of manufactured nondurable goods fell for the second out of the last three months, declining 0.9% in July following 0.4% June increase.

The manufacturing sector has been one of the brightest spots in the U.S. economy so far this year, with many analysts predicting the strong growth will continue, helping to support wider economic growth.

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