An economic indicator released monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau that reflects the new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for immediate and future delivery of factory hard (durable) goods.
The first release, the advance, provides an early estimate of durable goods orders. About two weeks later, more complete and revised data are available in the factory orders report. The data for the previous month are usually revised a second time upon the release of the new month’s data.
Orders for factory hard goods can provide information on how busy factories may be in the future. The orders placed in current months may provide work in factories for many months to come as they work to fill the orders.
The data not only provide insight to demand for items such as refrigerators and cars, but also business investment such as industrial machinery, electrical machinery and computers. If companies commit to spending more on equipment and other capital, they are obviously experiencing sustainable growth in their business. Increased expenditures on investment goods set the stage for greater productive capacity in the country and reduce the prospects for inflation.