The economic green shoot – manufacturing – has now exceeded the pre-recession levels. New orders in March 2011 are at historical high compared to March in previous years. Growth is positive year-over-year and the rate of increase in growth (acceleration) is positive. Manufacturing is in a robust recovery and will soon be in expansion, even on a real and population adjusted basis, if the trends of the past nine months continue.
New orders for manufactured goods in March, up five consecutive months, increased $13.5 billion or 3.0 percent to $462.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.7 percent February increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 2.6 percent.
Shipments, up seven consecutive months, increased $12.0 billion or 2.7 percent to $461.4 billion. This followed a 0.6 percent February increase. Unfilled orders, up eleven of the last twelve months, increased $7.0 billion or 0.8 percent to $844.0 billion. This followed a 0.7 percent February increase. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 5.54, down from 5.63 in February.
Inventories, up fourteen of the last fifteen months, increased $6.3 billion or 1.1 percent to $572.3 billion. This followed a 1.0 percent February increase. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.24, down from 1.26 in February.
The trend lines in this sector of the economy are up and consistent. The only “but” is that we are not talking about real or inflation adjusted dollars. The transport data and industrial production data is telling us we are not yet producing at pre-recession levels.
Sharp Improvement in Durable Goods Manufacturing in March 2011 by Steven Hansen
CMI: Consumer Weakness Continues by Rick Davis
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Strong Retail Sales Do Not Point to Real Economic Growth by Steven Hansen