NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Orders for durable goods from U.S. factories declined for the second time in five months in February, the government reported Friday, a slower pace than forecast -- suggesting that pockets of the economy may be starting to feel the effects of higher interest rates.
Orders for goods built to last at least three years fell 2.3 percent in February, a greater decline than the flat reading expected by analysts polled by Briefing.com and steeper than the revised 2.2 percent drop registered in January. Excluding transportation products, which tend to be volatile from month to month, orders slipped 0.2 percent after a drop of 0.5 percent in January.
The monthly drop in orders was the largest decline since April 1999, when orders slipped 2.4 percent. Although considered volatile, some analysts took the decline in orders as a sign that the robust U.S. economy may be showing some signs of slowing.
Orders for industrial machinery and transportation equipment led the declines. Industrial machinery orders declined 4.6 percent while orders for transportation products fell 8.7 percent. Electronic goods partially offset the declines, posting a gain of 6.4 percent on the month.
"These numbers really indicate some pockets of weakness," Lynn Reiser, chief economist with Bank of America Asset Management, told CNNfn's Before Hours. "It suggests manufacturers are having a difficult time in some sectors and it does suggest some areas of slowing within the economy."