March 2015 Economic Indicators

Melanie Garza - Director of Strategy & Growth

New orders for manufactured durable goods shot up in January following a dismal end to 2014. New orders were up $6.5 billion or 2.8% in January, reported the U.S. Census Bureau. Orders fell in November and December at 3.7%.

Transportation equipment surged up 9.1%, claiming $6 billion of the reported increase. Excluding transportation, new orders grew 0.3%. Within transportation, automotive fell -2.9%, but is 5.1% stronger than 2014. Nondefense aircraft jumped 128.5% over December; however, it is down -20.6% from 2014. Defense aircraft dropped -6.5% and is slightly below 2014 levels by -.5%.

Other major categories included primary metals, which fell -0.3% in January and is down -0.9% from 2014, as well as fabricated metals, which slipped -0.2% in January, but are up 7.7% from the previous year. Machinery rose 1.9% in January, but is overall -6.7% less than 2014. Computer equipment climbed 1% in January and is up 3.6% from a year ago.

Consumer Confidence Dips

Consumer Confidence in the U.S. dipped slightly in February following an 11-year high reading in January. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® was reported at 103.8 for January and retracted back to 96.4 in February. Economists say the harsh winter and rising gas prices seem to have attributed to the drop.

Consumers’ optimism about the short-term outlook was considerably less positive in February. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased from 18.9% to 16.1%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen increased from 8.2% to 8.7%.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market also fell. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 17.3% to 13.4%. The proportion of consumers expecting growth in their incomes declined from 19.5% to 15.1%. The proportion expecting a decrease rose from 10.8% to 12.0%.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remained positive, but short-term expectations declined. Despite this month’s decline, consumers remain confident that the economy will continue to expand at the current pace in the months ahead” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

Questions or comments? Please contact Melanie Garza at