WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- New orders for manufactured durable goods in July fell less than 0.1 billion U.S. dollars, virtually unchanged, to 273.5 billion dollars, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday.
The report showed that the drop, following four consecutive monthly increases, followed a 2.2 percent gain in June.
Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.2 percent. In July, defense aircraft and parts orders plunged 49.8 percent from June after soaring 78.1 percent in the previous month.
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.3 percent. Transportation equipment, down following three consecutive monthly increases, declined 0.7 percent to 93.0 billion dollars.
The Institute for Supply Management reported early this month that the July Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) registered 52.8 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the reading in June.
The Manufacturing PMI in June was already down by 3.1 percentage points from the May reading. Weak PMI data indicated that manufacturers are feeling the brunt of rising interest rates and persistently elevated inflation as customers cut spending.
Meanwhile, supply bottlenecks, despite signs of easing, and labor shortages continue to drag down manufacturing output.