New orders for manufactured goods increased by more than expected in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, although the report also showed a notable downward revision to the data for January.
The report showed that factory orders rose 1.8 percent in February following a revised 3.5 percent decrease in January. Economists had been expecting orders to rise by 1.5 percent compared to the 1.9 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.
The rebound in February marked the first increase in factory orders in seven months.
Excluding orders for transportation equipment, new orders for manufactured goods still increased by 1.6 percent in February compared to a 2.4 percent decrease in January.
The rebound in factor orders was largely due to a 3.5 percent increase in orders for durable goods, which was revised up slightly from the 3.4 percent increase that was reported last week.
However, the increase in durable goods orders came on the heels of a revised 7.8 percent decrease in the previous month. Last week, the Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell 7.3 percent in January compared to the 4.5 percent decrease that had been reported previously.
Orders for non-durable goods increased by 0.3 percent in February following a 0.5 percent increase in January. The two consecutive modest increases come on the heels of a 5.1 percent decrease in December.
The Commerce Department also said that shipments of manufactured goods decreased for the seventh consecutive month, edging down 0.1 percent in February after falling by 2.6 percent in the previous month.
A 0.5 percent decrease in shipments of durable goods was partly offset by a 0.3 percent increase in shipments on non-durable goods.
The report also showed that inventories of manufactured goods fell by 1.2 percent in February, marking the sixth consecutive monthly decrease.
With inventories falling at a faster pace than shipments, the inventories-to-shipments ratio edged down to 1.45 in February from 1.46 in January.
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