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Manufactured Goods Orders Fell Sharply in March

This is becoming redundant. We report about the latest economic data showing a steep drop-off. The redundancy is not without value though. An accurate sense of the breadth and depth of the economic situation will better inform our decisions about policy decisions moving forward.

The latest data is new orders for manufactured goods from the Census Bureau. They fell more than 10% in March. An almost 300% drop in airline orders, due to Boeing’s suspension of 737Max production, drove that figure lower. But consumers and businesses also cut spending on manufactured goods, as stay-at-home-orders began to mount and unemployment spiked.

Consumers will start to spend on these items once they go back to work and their confidence rises. Businesses will similarly start to spend when customers do. Boeing restarting 737Max production will help too.

But the data for April, once it comes out in early June, will likely show an even bigger drop than March because the Great Pause extended the entire month.

Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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