New orders for manufactured goods took their first dip in three months, dropping 2.4%, to $485 billion, according to a July Department of Commerce report [link opens in PDF] released today. After hitting an all-time high in June, analysts were pleasantly surprised, having expected a major 3.4% decline.
Although the overall drop was less than expected, a 7.4% decrease in durable goods orders continues to spell trouble for longer-term economic confidence. Transportation equipment proved to be the main culprit, with new orders dropping off 19.4% from June's numbers. New orders for manufactured nondurable goods paint a more positive picture, increasing 2.4% for July.
Unfilled orders increased 0.4% to an all-time high since data was first recorded in 1992, while shipments bumped up 1.1%. Inventories continued to expand to record highs, increasing 0.3%, due, primarily, to a 0.6% expansion in transportation equipment stock.
The inventories-to-shipments ratio, a statistic used to measure the sustainable flow of goods, dipped slightly to 1.29, from June's 1.30 reading.