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For February 2009, the Commerce Department reported the first gain in orders for US made factory goods after six months of large declines.

Excluding transportation goods, factory orders rose 1.6% but when you exclude the 36% increase in defense goods, orders rose 0.9%.

Even though there was a increase in factory orders in February, they are still down 18% in the past six months. January's orders were revised sharply lower to a 3.5% decline from 1.9% reported a month ago.

Although economists are cautious about overreacting to any one month of data, February's factory orders report showed orders for nondefense, nonaircraft capital equipment jumped 7.1%, revised up from the 6.6% estimate reported last week.

Orders for durable goods rose an upwardly revised 3.5% in February, also the first gain in seven months led by orders for machinery, computers and defense goods. Orders for nondurable goods rose 0.3% in February, led by chemicals and plastics.

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