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Both a) new orders and b) actual shipments of manufactured durable goods showed strong monthly increases in July, increasing by 4.0% and 2.5% respectively compared to June, according to today's Census Bureau report. New orders for durable goods in July, at $201.5 billion, were at the highest monthly level since September 2008, almost three years ago (see blue line in chart above). Actual shipments of manufactured durable goods (electrical equipment, computers, appliances, cars, aircraft, machinery, fabricated metal products, transportation equipment, etc.) also exceeded $200 billion in July, for the first time since October 2008. (see red line in chart).

Bottom Line: Today's report on the strong increases in both new orders and actual shipments of durable goods strengthens the case that American manufacturing continues to be one of the strongest sectors and main drivers of the economic recovery. Employment gains in manufacturing this year further confirm the case that manufacturing is at the forefront of the expansion. In 2011, 180,000 new manufacturing jobs have been added in the first seven months, which is the largest January-July increase in manufacturing jobs since 1994. American manufacturing alone was responsible for close to 20% of the 930,000 new payroll jobs added to the U.S. economy this year through July, even though manufacturing jobs represent fewer than 9% of the total payroll jobs in the economy.
Source: American Manufacturing Drives The Recovery