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Factory Orders Fall; Growing Number of States in Recession

There are more signs the U.S. economy is slumping badly.

The U.S. Commerce Department says Tuesday the number of businesses placing orders for equipment and raw materials fell for the second straight month in September, dropping by 2.5 percent. That is in addition to a revised decline of more than four percent in August.

Officials say even when automobile and airplane orders, which are often volatile, are excluded, factory orders for other products fell by the most on record.

Just last week, another government report showed the country's Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, the value of all the goods and services produced in the United States, fell by three-tenths of a percent. Many economists saw that as a strong indication the country was sliding into a recession. But one of the world's top credit rating agencies, Moody's Investors Services, says recession is already a reality for 30 of the 50 U.S. states.

A recession is technically defined as six consecutive months of negative economic growth. Moody's defined a recession as a decline in a state's gross domestic product over a six-month period, compared to the previous six-month period.

Many economists are looking ahead to Friday, when the government releases a report on jobs. Experts surveyed by news organizations predict the report will show the jobless rate rising slightly to hit 6.3 percent.

A report Monday on U.S. manufacturing showed activity fell to its lowest level in 26 years in October.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Bloomberg.