A huge drop in demand for cars, aircraft and other transportation equipment pulled down orders for so-called durable goods in August, the Census Bureau says.
Orders fell 13.2 percent, "the largest decrease since January 2009."
Also this morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised down its estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product growth. It now says GDP grew at a tepid 1.3 percent annual rate in the quarter, not the previous estimate of 1.7 percent.
GDP grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the first quarter.
The one bright spot in this morning's economic news: There were 26,000 fewer first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week vs. the week before. The Employment and Training Administration says there were 359,000 such filings.
Bloomberg News sifts through the reports and concludes that the news on orders for durable goods signals that:
"Manufacturing once a pillar of the economic recovery, has cooled, hurting companies such as Caterpillar Inc. as concern about the fiscal cliff of tax increases and government spending cuts that may take effect next year causes businesses to pull back. Slowing growth from Europe to China also is putting a dent on exports, another headwind for American factories."