Orders for U.S. durable goods in February rose 2.2 percent year-over-year to $211.8 billion, as increased demand for cars, computers and capital equipment helped pull the manufacturing sector out of a January slowdown, according to the Commerce Department.
Durable good orders have increased in four of the last five months, with the 4 percent year-over-year decline in January being the only lagging period. The Wednesday release of the statistics comes after the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation forecasted U.S manufacturing will outperform overall GDP growth through 2013.
“There exists pent-up demand for consumer durable goods, particularly for motor vehicles, and firms are profitable and need to spend more for both traditional and high-tech business equipment,” said Daniel J. Meckstroth, MAPI chief economist.
Shipments of durable goods, however, shrank 0.4 percent to $206.6 billion, the first decline in two months. Shipments of transportation equipment were hit the hardest, falling 2.5 percent year-over-year to $49.2 billion.
Inventories in February rose for the 26th straight month, increasing 0.4 percent to $373.3 billion. The storage of durable goods is the highest since 1992, when the federal government began collecting inventory statistics.