US factory orders drop in May; military spending plunges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders at U.S. factories dipped in May, dragged by less demand for steel, aluminum, furniture, electrical appliances and military aircraft.

The Commerce Department says factory orders fell 1 percent in May, after gains in the two prior months.

The decline suggests that U.S. manufacturers have yet to fully recover from the sting of weaker economic growth worldwide. Measures of factory activity increasingly look mixed, with some still showing the pain caused earlier this year by a stronger dollar hurting exports and lower oil prices leading to cutbacks in orders for equipment and pipelines.

Demand in a category that serves as a proxy for business investment — non-military goods that exclude the volatile aircraft category — slipped 0.4 percent in May.

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