January's figure was revised downwards to show a 1.3 percent drop.
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2 percent. Excluding defense, new orders rose 1.8 percent.
Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased 6.9 percent, led by nondefense aircraft and parts.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, up following two consecutive monthly decreases (0.9 percent).
Nondefense new orders for capital goods in February rose 2.8 percent.