Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in February for the third time in the past four months, while a key investment category fell for a sixth month.
The Commerce Department says that orders for durable goods dropped 1.4 percent in February following a 2 percent increase in January and declines of 3.7 percent in December and 2.2 percent in November. A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending retreated 1.4 percent in February, the sixth consecutive monthly decline.
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The weakness in February was widespread, with declines in demand for commercial aircraft, autos and machinery. Economists are hoping that expected strong domestic demand will be enough to offset weakness caused by a stronger dollar, which dampens export sales of U.S. companies.