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US Factory Orders Rebound Sharply in February

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US Factory Orders Rebound Sharply in February

New orders for US factory goods rebounded sharply in February, adding further evidence the economy was regaining momentum after an unseasonably cold winter.

US factory orders rose 1.6 percent in February, after falling at a revised rate of 1 percent the previous month, the Commerce Department reported today. A broad consensus of economists called for a gain of 1.2 percent.

Excluding transportation equipment, new orders advanced 0.7 percent, the biggest gain since July 2013.

Gains were spearheaded by shipments, which rose at the fastest pace in seven months. Shipments of new orders, down in each of the last two months, rose 0.9 percent. Shipments had fallen 0.7 percent in January, official data showed.

New orders for manufactured durable goods, also down in each of the last two months, rose 2.2 percent. Orders for manufactured durable goods had declined 1.4 percent in January.

Factory activity is rebounding after inclement weather weighed on production in December and January. Factory orders are the latest sign the US economy was regaining momentum after broad-based declines undermined recovery in the early part of winter. Still, many economists believe the weather-related slowdown likely resulted in disappointing GDP figures in the first quarter.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday the US manufacturing sector rebounded for a second straight month in March. Like in February, March witnessed broad improvements across the manufacturing sector. Fourteen of the 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in March, with new orders rising for the tenth consecutive month.

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