Orders ‘up’ for US hard goods

Posted on 25 Mar 2009 by The Manufacturer

US manufacturing finally had some news worth celebrating today as it was revealed orders of durable goods were up 3.4 per cent in February.

That constituted a $5.5bn rise to $165.6bn, the Department for Commerce reports.

Durable goods are classed as any manufactured item that is expected to last at least three years. One of the main contributors to the upturn was military goods but orders for machinery, computers and fabricated metal products all picked up too.

Economists were hesitant to take too much spirit from the news though, pointing out that the rise should be measured in the context of following a 7.3% drop in January and a 28.4% fall from a year before.

“The underlying state of industry is still deteriorating,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief United States economist at High Frequency Economics.

But some, like Adam York, an economist at Wachovia Economics, took some encouragement from the “smatterings of less-bad economic data” offered by this report along with brighter outlooks from retail and home sales.

“You don’t want to make a trend out of any one month,” he said, “but we’ll take the good news where we can get it.”
Despite the rise overall, orders for transportation goods, except military aircraft, continued their downward trend, bringing no respite for the troubled sector.