Falling Factory, Machinery Orders Suggest Further Decline in U.S. Economy

Washington, D.C.–Big-ticket item factory orders dropped in February and machinery orders fell to a record low–which could indicate the U.S. is in a recession, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.Orders for durable goods also declined 1.7 percent last month. After increasing in the previous two months, factory orders for machinery dropped 13 percent–the largest decline on record, according to CNNMoney.com.Non-defense capital goods orders–which economists consider to be a barometer for business activity–dropped 1 percent.Two months of decline in a row, combined with a weakness in non-defense capital goods orders, imply that “the economy has slipped into recession,” Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told CNNMoney.com.Lessened demand and increased production costs–including higher energy and raw materials prices–are weighing on manufactures, Anderson said.