Official name: Preliminary Report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders.
What exactly? A measure of shipments (sales), inventories and orders at the manufacturing level.
Source: Census Bureau
Released when? During the first week of the month at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Data for two months prior.
Market importance:Little. Hardly ever moves markets. Not timely. Considered old news. Total factory orders break down into 57% durable and 43% nondurable -- and durable goods orders are reported on an advance basis a week earlier.
Other notes:The manufacturing inventory numbers in this report are used -- along with inventories at the wholesale and the retail levels -- to calculate aggregate business inventories.