The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that orders placed with U.S. factories rose by $5.0 billion or 1.1 percent in April to $445.2 billion.
The performance in April was better than the 0.1 percent decline that economists were forecasting.
Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket items increased 2.6% when excluding transports, showing surprising strength in April.
The release of today’s data followed a 1.5 percent March increase and has improved the notion that manufacturing can help the economy shake off the slumping housing market and credit crisis.
New orders for manufactured nondurable goods in April, increased $6.2 billion or 2.8 percent to $230.8 billion.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods, increased $3.4 billion or 1.6 percent to $213.1 billion following two consecutive monthly decreases. Meanwhile, shipments of manufactured non-durable goods, increased $6.2 billion or 2.8 percent to $230.8 billion up two consecutive months, posting a combined total of $9.6 billion among components.
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods, increased $7.3 billion or 0.9 percent to $804.4 billion following a 1.3 percent March increase. The unfilled orders – to – shipments ratio was 5.29, down from 5.30 in March.
Inventories came in slightly down, following seven consecutive monthly increases. For manufactured durable goods, inventories increased $2.0 billion or 0.6 percent to $329.1 billion while inventories of manufactured non-durable goods, decreased $2.1 billion or 1.0 percent to $216.6 billion.
By stage of fabrication, April materials and supplies increased 0.6 percent in durable goods and decreased 0.1 percent in nondurable goods.
Based on this report, despite all the problems, overall economic growth has managed to stay in positive territory. Orders fell in January and March as a spreading slowdown in the economy depressed activity in manufacturing. However, these latest figures indicate a non-recessionary economy.