New orders for manufactured goods increased 1% to $474 billion for April, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens in PDF) released today.
After falling a revised 4.7% for March, analysts had expected a 1.4% April increase.
Transportation gains provided the main push for the month's increase, up 8.4% to $67.4 billion. Excluding transportation, overall new orders actually fell 0.1%. New orders for manufactured durable goods managed a respectable 3.5% bump to $223 billion, while nondurable goods fell 1% to $251 billion.
While new orders are up two of the past three months, shipments dropped (-0.7%) for the second straight month. Inventories increased 0.2% for the fifth consecutive monthly increase, reaching a new record since 1992, when data was first collected in this format. Transportation inventories have been the main driver behind inventory increases over the last three years, and bumped up an additional 1.4% for April. Petroleum and coal products have been chipping away at reserves for six of the last seven months, knocking off another 2.3% for April.