P.M. BRIEFING : Factory Orders Fall for 2nd Month

From Times wire services

Orders received by American factories, a measure of the health of the manufacturing sector, fell 2.3% last month after falling 1.2% in January, the Commerce Department said today.

The February decrease, the largest since last July, left the value of factory orders at a seasonally adjusted $230.68 billion, the department said. It was also the first time in three years that orders fell at least two months in a row.

Declines in new orders were widespread and included both durable goods, or “big ticket” items, and nondurable goods, the department said. The largest decreases were in orders for cars, aircraft and other transportation equipment.