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New orders for manufactured durable goods in the U.S. rose to a 30-month high in March of $208.37 billion, according to today's report from the Census Bureau. That was the highest volume of orders in a single month since September 2008, two and-a-half years ago, and was 10.5% above the level a year ago, and 2.5% above orders in February. For the first quarter of 2011, durable goods orders were the highest on a quarterly basis since the third quarter of 2008, and above the same quarter last year by 8.75%.

According to the Federal Reserve's data on industrial production, manufacturing output grew in the first quarter of this year at an annualized rate of 9% (about four times greater than the overall economy), and durable manufacturing grew at an annualized rate of 16%, so along with today's Census report, it's clear that the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to lead the economic recovery as the "shining star" of the U.S. economy.

In other manufacturing news today, the Chicago Federal Reserve reported strong growth in manufacturing output in the Midwest region, with a 12.5% increase in March from a year earlier.
Source: Manufacturing Leads the Economic Recovery