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Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, & Orders

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More information is available in the M3 Instruction Manual. PDF [1.5mb]

  • Shipments - Manufacturers’ shipments measure the dollar value of products sold by manufacturing establishments and are based on net selling values, f.o.b. (free on board) plant, after discounts and allowances are excluded. Freight charges and excise taxes are excluded. Where the products of an industry are customarily delivered to distributors or consumers by the manufacturing establishment (such as in certain foods industries – fluid milk, bakery, soft drinks), the value is based on delivered price rather than f.o.b. plant price. Multi-industry companies report value information for each industry category as if it were a separate economic unit. Thus, products transferred from one plant to another are valued at their full economic value.
  • New Orders - A new order is a communication of an intention to buy for immediate or future delivery. Orders data are not collected from industries that have mostly immediate deliveries. See Part H to determine if the M3 survey request orders data for your industry category. Only orders supported by binding legal documents (such as signed contracts, letters of intent, or letters of award) should be included. Reported data should include all new orders received during the month less cancellations.
  • Order Backlog (Unfilled Orders) - Generally, unfilled orders at the end of an accounting period are equal to unfilled orders at the beginning of the period, plus new orders net of cancellations received during the period, less net sales. This includes orders that have not yet passed through the sales account and funded orders (or portions of orders) for which the value of work done has not been reported as sales.
  • Total Inventory - Total inventories represent the value of the end-of-month stocks regardless of stage of fabrication (whether in the form of purchased materials and supplies, work in process, or finished goods). These inventories are valued at cost using any valuation method other than LIFO. Inventories associated with the non-manufacturing activities of your company are excluded.
  • Materials-and-Supplies Inventory - All unprocessed raw and semifabricated commodities and supplies for which you have title.
  • Work-in-Process Inventory - Accumulated costs of all commodities undergoing fabrication within your plants and long-term contracts where the inventory costs are for undelivered items and the value of work done that has not been reported in sales.
  • Finished Good Inventory - The value of all completed products ready for shipment and all inventories and goods bought for resale requiring no further processing or assembly. No accumulation of finished goods inventories should occur with long-term contracts unless the total sales receipts are not recorded until the time of delivery.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories, and Orders | (301) 763-4832 Last Revised: December 10, 2021