US factory orders decline slightly in August

Worker in a General Motors powertrain factory
Image caption Activity remained subdued at US factories in the summer

New orders at US factories declined slightly, adding to concerns over the health of the world's largest economy.

The Commerce Department said orders for manufactured goods fell 0.2% in August, after rising a downwardly revised 2.1% in July.

Economists had expected orders to be unchanged.

But orders for capital goods - expensive items such as computers and communications equipment - rose 0.9%, the second gain in three months.

Sluggish growth in the US economy earlier this year has not been sufficient to reduce high levels of unemployment.

The economic recovery is "close to faltering", Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the ISM Manufacturing Index unexpectedly rose in September, beating expectations that the index would remain unchanged.

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