According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Monday Economic Report for this week, new orders for manufactured goods dropped 0.7% in February, extending the 2.1% decline seen in January and falling for the third time in the past four months. Durable goods orders dropped 1.0% in February, largely on declining aircraft and parts sales. Excluding transportation equipment, factory orders decreased 0.3% in February, with durable goods demand edging down 0.1%. Nondurable goods orders fell 0.4% for the month. Overall, new manufactured goods orders have decreased 3.2% since peaking in June 2022 but rose 2.7% on a YoY basis.

Factory shipments decreased 0.5% in February. Excluding transportation equipment, shipments of manufactured goods fell 0.3% for the month. Total factory shipments rose 4.4% over the past 12 months, or 3.0% with transportation equipment excluded. Similar to the new orders data, shipments have declined 1.3% since June 2022, decreasing 2.7% with transportation equipment excluded.

Manufacturers hired 422,000 workers in February, edging up from 420,000 in January. Total separations rose from 406,000 to 415,000 for the month. As a result, net hiring (or hiring minus separations) totaled 7,000 in February, the weakest reading since April 2021. Net hiring has averaged 28,667 over the past 12 months and 21,333 over the past six months. In the larger economy, nonfarm business job openings dropped from 10,563,000 in January to 9,931,000 in February. This was the first reading below 10 million since May 2021.