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Computer makers are outperforming the overall manufacturing sector, at least for one month and in one area: durable goods, manufactured wares meant to last at least three years.
Overall, durable goods orders last month fell 2.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis, the biggest decline since a 6% drop in September 2002. But orders for computers and related products--valued at a seasonally adjusted $8.48 billion--rose 5.4%. Computer shipments in April--valued at nearly $8.81 billion--rose 6.3%, overall durable goods shipments slipped 0.8%. Another sign of the strengthening IT market: inventories--valued at $5.8 billion--dipped 0.9% while overall durable goods inventories rose 0.5%.
Economist warn that one month's data doesn't constitute a trend. In March, for instance, computer orders fell 0.7% after rising 2.2% in February. Yet, in March, overall durable goods orders rose 5.7% in March and 3.9% in February. Still, computer makers don't seem to be facing problems eliminating backlogs of orders. The value of unfilled orders has been steadily declining in the past few months, falling 4% in April, 2.8% in March, and 0.8% in February.