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Durable goods orders drop 3.6 percent in April, according to Department of Commerce

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 25, 2011

With freight volumes moderating in recent weeks and demand seeing a mild decline, the United States Department of Commerce reported today that new orders for manufactured durable goods in April dipped 3.6 percent—or $7.1 billion—to $189.9 billion.

This marks the second time in the last three months that new orders have been down. March was up 4.4 percent.

April shipments of manufactured goods fell for the first time in five months, decreasing 1.0 percent—or $2.0 billion—to $194.9 million, according to Commerce. This followed a 3.1 percent gain in March.

The decreases in orders and shipments are consistent with what is happening with current freight trends to a large degree. Industry analysts point out that there was a downturn in freight demand from March to April even though overall freight levels are still showing growth.

And as LM has reported, a good amount of this growth stems from a very strong manufacturing sector, which has shown expansion for 23 straight months, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

“We are seeing steady growth for the most part,” a metals shipper said in an interview. “It is not great compared to what we have seen in the past, but it is clear that demand for goods is intact.”

This sentiment is being highlighted in recent earnings reports and advisories from myriad logistics and freight transportation service providers, too. These providers have been cautious about adding capacity until they see more consistent and steady signs of demand over a prolonged period.

Should oil and diesel prices continue to inch down, as has been the trend in recent weeks, it could serve as a driver for increased demand and orders.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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