New orders for U.S.-made goods increased for a third straight month in February on growing demand for machinery and electrical equipment, suggesting the manufacturing sector recovery was gaining steam.
Factory goods orders rose 1.0 percent, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday after an upwardly revised 1.5 percent increase in January.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders advancing 1.0 percent in February after a previously reported 1.2 percent increase in January.
Factory orders were up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
Shipments of manufactured goods increased 0.3 percent after a similar gain in January. Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, is recovering in part as steadily rising oil prices reinvigorate the energy sector, leading to demand for machinery and other equipment.
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