Businesses cut back on orders for aircraft, autos, heavy machinery and computers in June, sending demand for long-lasting manufactured goods lower for the second month in the past three.
The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods fell 2.1 percent in June, with the weakness led by a big drop in orders for commercial aircraft. A number of other categories also showed weakness including autos and auto parts. A key category that tracks business investment plans fell 0.4 percent in June.
Manufacturing has been the stellar performer in the two-year-old recovery. But activity slowed in the spring, reflecting in part supply disruptions following the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Manufacturing was also hurt by the hit the overall economy took from higher energy prices which dampened consumer demand.