New orders for manufactured durable goods decreased by 14.4pc in March to $213.2bn compared to $249.2bn in February, according to US Census data. In February new orders rose by 1.1pc from January after two consecutive monthly increases. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 15.8pc. Transportation equipment, which lost ground in two of the last three months, led the decrease with a 41pc drop from $86.8bn in February to $51.2bn in March. Transportation fell 10 percentage points from 34pc of the durable goods market in February to 24pc in March.
Month-to-month percentage changes for new orders against the previous month for 2019 were up 1.7pc in March, down 2.8pc in April, down 2.3pc in May, up 1.8pc in June, up 2.1pc in July, up 0.2pc in August, down 1.5pc in September, up 0.2pc in October, down 3.1pc in November, and up 2.8pc in December. In 2020, January increased 0.1pc while February increased 1.1pc. The 14.4pc seasonally adjusted shrinkage in March new orders is drastic and attributed to COVID-19 safeguard policies and the resultant weak demand from most businesses in the US. The decline in new orders is expected to reflect as lower raw materials purchases across supply chains and higher unemployment in the economy.
Unfilled orders decreased 2.0pc to $1,135.2bn in March from $1,158.6bn in February. Transportation equipment once again led the decrease with a loss of 2.9pc to $768.3bn in March compared to $791.2bn the previous month.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March have been down eight of the last nine months, with only a slight uptick in February. Shipments decreased 4.5pc to $240.7bn in March from $252.1 in February. Transportation equipment led the decrease by 12.8pc to $74.1mn in March from $85.0mn the previous month.
Inventories for manufactured durable goods increased again in March, a trend that has been prevalent for the past 19 months. Transportation equipment, up in 20 of the last 21 months, also led the inventory increase by 0.6pc to $152.6bn in March from $151.7bn in February.
According to the latest Annual Survey of Manufacturers by the US Census Bureau, the total value of shipments was $6,000bn in 2018 of which the top five were transportation (17pc), food (13pc), chemicals (13pc), petroleum and coal products (12pc), and machinery (7pc).