Manufacturing sales increased for the third consecutive month, up 1.1% to $54.6 billion in May. The gain was mainly attributable to higher sales in the transportation equipment and chemical manufacturing industries.
Sales were up in 16 of 21 industries, representing 71% of the manufacturing sector. Sales of durable goods rose 2.2%, while sales of non-durable goods declined 0.3%.
In constant dollars, sales were up 1.1%, indicating that higher volumes of manufactured goods were sold in May.
Sales in the transportation equipment industry rose 4.2% to $11.5 billion in May, the third gain in four months. The growth was the result of increases in the motor vehicle (+8.6%) and the motor vehicle parts (+5.7%) industries, mainly reflecting higher volumes. After removing the effect of price changes, sales in volume terms rose 8.1% and 5.0% respectively in these industries in May.
Chemical manufacturing sales increased 2.4% to $4.4 billion, following three months of declines. The gain was widespread among all seven chemical manufacturing industries. However, the pesticide, fertilizer and the other agricultural chemical manufacturing industries posted the largest sales increase. Generally, sales spike in these industries once seeding in the agricultural sector has taken place.
In constant dollars, sales in the chemical industry were up 1.5%, indicating higher volumes of chemical products were sold.
These increases were partially offset by a 3.4% decline in the petroleum and coal product industry to $5.0 billion, mostly reflecting lower prices. After removing the effect of price changes, sales volumes of petroleum and coal products rose 0.7% in May.