Orders For Long-Lasting IT Wares Up For December And Year - InformationWeek

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Orders For Long-Lasting IT Wares Up For December And Year

The value of new orders for computers and related products rose a seasonally adjusted 8.8% to $34.5 billion in December.

The IT sector in 2004 performed better than the overall manufacturing economy, at least as measured by the value of durable goods, which are products designed to last three or more years.

The value of new orders for computers and related products rose a seasonally adjusted 8.8% to $34.5 billion in December, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. That percentage surpasses the 0.6% gain registered for all durable goods. Another sign of demand for computer wares, the value of backlog of orders, grew 8.7% to nearly $9.1 billion. Shipments of computer products last month slipped a minute 0.3% to $40.2 billion, and the value of inventories remained unchanged at $6.4 billion in December.

For the year, computer orders slightly outperformed those for all types of durable goods. The value of new orders for computer products rose 12.8% for 2004 versus 10.9% for all durable goods. Similarly, computer shipments rose 13.1%, compared with a 10.3% gain for all durable products.

Computer makers did a better job than other sectors in moving products through their warehouses last year. For IT products, the value of inventories increased 3.3%, compared with 7.5% for all durable goods last year. Unfilled IT orders increased 4.9% versus 8.7% for all sectors.

Figures for durable goods are volatile and subject to revisions, which can be dramatic at times. Indeed, the Census Bureau will revise its report for December early next month. Experts caution that a snapshot of one month's performance doesn't always indicate the direction in which the U.S. economy is heading.

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