With the U.S. economy stuck in neutral, analysts are busy adjusting their forecasts to include the possibility of another recession. Most aren't predicting another downturn, they're just saying that the odds have increased.
Meanwhile, policymakers at the Federal Reserve are divided about what to do next. Some are arguing for more aggressive action while others think that would be a mistake, according to minutes from their last meeting released on Tuesday.
Both the Fed and Congress are running out of ideas that they haven't already tried.
"At least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud in America's contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," the independent and bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan reported this morning.
That's out of the $206 billion that's expected to have been spent on contracts and grants in those two countries by the end of September, the commission says.
U.S. factory orders rose strongly in July on the biggest jump in demand for autos in more than eight years and a surge in commercial airplane orders. The increase suggests supply chain disruptions created by the Japan crisis are easing.
Factory orders climbed 2.4 percent, the largest increase since March, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 9.8 percent, the largest one-month gain since January 2003.