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Factory goods orders outperform expectations

The United States Commerce Department said that new orders for US factory goods beat expectations in March 2002 and that February's numbers were better than previously reported.

The government said the value of new manufactured goods rose 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted $318.5 billion in March. Economists on Wall Street had predicted an increase of only 0. 1%, according to Reuters. That followed a revised orders rise of 0.2% in February, up from the previously reported fall of 0.1%.

Despite March's overall rise, durable goods fell 0.5%. The Commerce Department said this figure did not include volatile data for semiconductors because of the large number of manufacturers choosing not to participate in the monthly survey.

Orders for transportation equipment also decreased 1.3% in March after jumping 11.3% the previous month.

The inventory-to-shipments ratio, which measures the amount of time it would take to deplete supplies totally at the current pace of shipments, dropped to 1.36 months from 1.38 in February.

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