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Real Durable Goods Orders Below Average in March, Trend Stays Weak

Actual, not seasonally adjusted real durable goods orders rose 12.1% in March from February. March is typically the strongest month of the year. The current number represents below average performance. The 10 year average gain for March was 14.4% from 2003 to 2013. These are inflation adjusted numbers representing actual order volume, not nominal sales.

The year to year gain was 7.2%, which represents a rebound from weakness in the past 3 months. The trend had been flat for the past two years.

This gain puts real durable goods orders slightly above the recovery peak in 2011, but still 9% below the March 2008 level, which was in the early stages of the depression that continues today. While the Fed has had great success at stimulating a stock market bubble, QE has not moved the needle on US manufacturing, or demand for US manufactured durable goods. Real durable goods orders remain below the levels of 2002, also at the bottom of a the internet/tech bubble collapse recession.

The seasonally adjusted made up headline number rose by 2.6%. Conomists had expected a gain of 2.%. Therefore this was seen as a “positive surprise.” in spite of the actual data being below average for March.

Transport equipment is a large and volatile segment of US durable goods manufacturing. Conomists exclude that to form a “core durable goods measure.” There, the long term trend is even more pronounced. Even with a strong bounce in March there is no breakout, and the long term downtrend remains intact.


Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also publish, and was lead analyst for Sure Money Investor, of blessed memory. I developed David Stockman's Contra Corner for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs since 1972, including a stint on Wall Street in both sales, analytical, and trading capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I was a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I was considered an expert in the analysis of failed properties that ended up in the hands of bank REO divisions, the FDIC, and the RTC. Remember those guys? I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. I'm not some Ivory Tower academic, Wall Street guy. My perspective comes from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches, as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, trader, account rep, and analyst. I've watched most of the games these Wall Street wiseguys play from right up close. I know the drill from my 55 years of paying attention. And I'm happy to share that experience with you, right here. 

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