ORDERS PLUMMET: Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods plunged 7.3 percent in July, mostly because of a steep drop in aircraft demand. Excluding the volatile transportation category, orders fell just 0.6 percent.
BUSINESSES CUT BACK: So-called core capital goods fell 3.3 percent. The drop followed four straight months of gains. Core capital goods are considered a good measure of businesses' confidence in the economy and include machinery, computers and heavy trucks, while excluding volatile aircraft and defense.
SLOW GROWTH: Manufacturing continues to struggle and may prevent economic growth from picking up in the July-September quarter.