Durable Goods Orders
- Importance (A-F): This release merits a B.
- Source: The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.
- Release Time: 8:30 ET around the 26th of the month (data for month prior).
- Raw Data Available At: www.census.gov
The durable orders release measures the dollar volume of orders, shipments,
and unfilled orders of durable goods (defined as goods whose intended lifespan
is three years or more). Orders are considered a leading indicator of
manufacturing activity, and the market often moves on this report despite the
volatility and large revisions that make it a less than perfect indicator. These
problems can be minimized by looking at the breakdown of orders. The total
number is often skewed by huge increases in aircraft and defense orders. An
increase based solely on strength in one sector tends to be discounted, while
the market is more impressed with broadbased increases in orders.
Also notable in this report is the narrow category of nondefense capital
goods. These goods mirror the GDP category producers' durable equipment (PDE) --
the largest component of business investment. Shipments of nondefense capital
goods are a good proxy for PDE in the current quarter, while nondefense capital
goods orders provide an indication of PDE growth in the quarters ahead.