US durable goods orders fell in May by the most in 18 months

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Demand for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell by the most in 18 months, and a key category that tracks business investment also slipped, evidence that manufacturing output is barely growing.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods – items meant to last at least three years – slid 1.1 percent in May. It was the second straight decline.

U.S. manufacturing has struggled to gain its footing this year. A plunge in demand for civilian and military aircraft drove the decline in May. Excluding transportation goods, orders actually ticked up 0.1 percent, after dropping the previous month.

There were some other positive signs in the report: Orders for new cars rose for the second straight month. Orders also increased for industrial machinery, steel and other metals, and appliances.

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