Companies placed fewer orders to U.S. factories for the second straight month and a key measure that tracks business investment fell, adding to evidence that the economy is weakening.
The Commerce Department says orders for factory goods fell 0.6 percent in April from March. Demand for core capital goods, viewed as a proxy for business investment plans, fell 2.1 percent in April following a 2.3 percent decline in March.
Even with the declines, factory orders are still well above their recession lows. Orders in April totaled $465.98 billion, up 38.7 percent from the recession low reached in March 2009. Orders are still 3.1 percent below the peak reached in December 2007, the month the recession began.