Manufactured goods orders fell again in April as nearly all manufacturers have continued or only temporarily halted operations amidst the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The National Association of Manufacturers released Thursday (May 28) the results for the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2020.
It shows optimism declined to a historic level of almost 34%, while 98.7% of manufacturers have continued or temporarily halted operations. Manufacturers are innovating to keep their businesses running and to protect workers and the communities in which they operate, with nearly 22% retooling to produce personal protective equipment, 67% reengineering processes to reflect COVID-19 safety protocols and 12% reevaluating the mission of the company.
“Manufacturers have led the country through the COVID-19 response, and America is counting on our industry to lead our recovery and renewal,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “While these numbers show that we’ve faced difficult circumstances and that there is a challenging road ahead, manufacturers have proven with our grit, determination and patriotic spirit, we can overcome any challenge facing the nation. And in our American Renewal Action Plan, the NAM has shown the way forward.”
The manufacturing trade group cited a need for liability reform, tax provisions to allow for investment in manufacturing and measures to reaffirm the U.S. supply chain to protect the businesses that continue to work on the front lines amid the health crisis and ensure a swift recovery.
Link here for the survey results.
GOODS ORDERS DECLINE
New orders for manufactured durable goods fell 17.2%, or by $35.4 billion, to $170 billion in April, from March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The orders have been down in three of the past four months, including a 16.6% decrease in March.
The Census Bureau announced Thursday the advance report on durable goods manufacturers’ shipments, inventories and orders for April.
Excluding transportation, new orders declined 7.4%. Excluding defense, new orders fell 16.2%. Transportation equipment orders fell by the largest amount, decreasing 47.3%, or by $23.9 billion, to $26.6 billion in April. The orders have fallen in three of the past four months.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods declined 17.7%, or by $41.5 billion, to $192.3 billion. The shipments have decreased in three of the past four months, including a 5.5% decline in March. Transportation equipment had the largest decrease, falling 42.7%, or by $31.4 billion, to $42.1 billion in April. Shipments of transportation equipment have been down in three of the past four months.
Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods fell 1.6%, or by $17.5 billion, to $1.1 trillion in April. The unfilled orders have fallen in the past two months, including a 2.1% decrease in March. Transportation equipment had the largest decrease, declining 2%, or by $15.5 billion, to $759.9 billion. Unfilled orders of transportation equipment have fallen over the past two months.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods rose 0.2%, or by $700 million, to $425.6 billion in April. The inventories have risen in the past two months, including a 0.6% rise in March. Transportation equipment had the largest increase, rising 0.3%, or by $400 million, to $143 billion in April. Inventories of transportation equipment have risen in 21 of the past 22 months.
Nondefense new orders for capital goods increased 8.2%, or by $3.8 billion, to $50.1 billion in April. Shipments fell 12.6%, or by $9.2 billion, to $63.8 billion. Unfilled orders declined 2.2%, or by $13.7 billion, to $624.8 billion. Inventories rose 0.1%, or by $200 million, to $190.3 billion. Defense new orders for capital goods declined 30.8%, or by $4.9 billion, to $11 billion. Shipments rose 3.9%, or by $500 million, to $12.5 billion. Unfilled orders declined 0.8%, or by $1.5 billion, to $178.9 billion. Inventories rose 1.4%, or by $300 million, to $21.1 billion.