While new orders showed some vigor, shipments of computer products from April to May edged up a mere 0.9%, and total inventories remained virtually flat, rising only 0.2%. Unfilled orders actually declined by 1.1%.
Economist Irving Leveson, president of ForecastCenter.com, credits the increase in new orders to the buildup of manufacturing that normally comes when the economy begins to recover from a recession. But, he says, the optimism that helped propel the economy this spring has vanished along with the wealth of individuals who've seen their portfolios shrink as stock prices decline. Couple that with international woes and fears of possible terrorist attacks, and, at best, the economy will be flat through the summer, Leveson says.
New orders for all durable goods rose 0.6% in May; shipments remained flat, while unfilled orders and total inventories each declined 0.6%.