The good news in September was that orders of computer wares helped boost orders for all durable goods. But actual shipments of computer-related products fell during the month. Computers are one component of what the government calls durable goods--items designed to last at least three years.
The value of computer products that had been ordered--$35.6 billion--rose 3.9% compared with August's totals; the value of overall durable-goods orders inched ahead by 0.2%, the Commerce Department reports. September figures in the report are preliminary; those for August are revised.
But actual computer shipments fell 5.8%, to nearly $38.1 billion, compared with shipments of durable goods as a whole, which fell 1.2% in September.
For the year ended in September, orders for computers and related products rose by 10.1%, 2 percentage points lower than all durable-goods orders. It's unusual for IT-product orders to grow more slowly than all durable goods over 12 months. Yet, computer shipments for the past year increased by 11.4%, a half-percentage point better than overall shipments.
At the same time, however, computer wares are backing up in warehouses. Inventories rose 2.9% compared with the previous 12 months and unfilled orders jumped 7.2%. By contrast, overall inventories of durable goods grew 0.3%, and unfilled orders rose by 0.7%.
IT vendors aren't clearing their warehouses as fast as other sectors have over the past year. The value of computer inventories rose 7% over 12 months, while unfilled orders dropped 1.4%. As a comparison, the value of inventories of all durable goods in the past year rose by 6.3% and unfilled orders rose 9.6%.