US big-ticket factory orders up 1.2% in February

Orders to US factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose 1.2% in February before coronavirus struck with force.

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose by a solid amount in February, but the gain came before the coronavirus had shut down much of the country.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday durable goods orders rose 1.2% last month, rebounding from January when orders had shown a tiny 0.1% gain.

However, with all the shutdowns that have occurred as authorities try to deal with the coronavirus, economists are looking for weak reports in coming months.

Many analysts believe the virus has already pushed the country into a recession with the most pessimistic forecasting that the overall economy could plunge by 20% or more in the April-June quarter.

The durable goods report showed that the 1.2% February gain was the best performance since a 2.8% advance in December.

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