U.S. factory orders fell in August for the second time in three months, suggesting a possible weakening in the manufacturing sector, which has been a significant driver of the U.S. economic recovery.
The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.2 percent in August following a 2.1 percent increase the previous month. Economists expected orders to be unchanged.
According to the report, factory orders excluding transportation decreased for the first time in six months, falling 0.2 percent. Orders for transportation equipment fell 0.1 percent as demand for motor vehicles fell 5.3 percent. Civilian aircraft orders rose 23.5 percent.
Orders for durable goods -expensive manufactured items expected to last at least three years- fell 0.1 percent. Durable-goods orders excluding transportation fell 0.1 percent, while orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -a gauge of business spending- rose 0.9 percent.
Unfilled orders rose 0.9 percent after climbing at the same rate in July, suggesting factories might have to increase production. Shipments fell 0.2 percent after rising 1.2 percent in July, while inventories increased 0.4 percent.