WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell sharply last month as demand for commercial aircraft plummeted and businesses spent less on computers and electrical equipment.
The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods plunged 7.3 percent in July, the steepest drop in nearly a year. Excluding the volatile transportation category, orders fell just 0.6 percent. Both declines came after three straight increases.
The figures suggest manufacturing growth remains sluggish after a weak start this year.
Economists focus on orders for so-called core capital goods, which exclude volatile aircraft and defense orders. Spending in that category fell 3.3 percent after four straight gains.
One bright spot was unfilled orders rose to their highest level since records began in 1992.