Even though government figures show inventories fell 0.6%, a sign that companies are unloading their inventory, carriers should not breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Total factory orders actually fell 1.2% to $318 billion. Orders for electronics, industrial machinery and non-durable goods all were down.
Transportation equipment orders, particularly ships and tanks for the defense industry, accounted for the overall rise because of a 24.8% gain. Within that category, orders for aircraft, missiles and space vehicles rose a sharp 24.4% while orders for shipbuilding and tanks rose a whopping 936.3%.