Factory orders in the U.S. for new goods fell in December for the fifth straight month.
The latest report from the Commerce Department shows a drop of 3.4 percent from November in the demand for manufactured products to $471.5 billion.
The fall was felt across most sectors, and is being blamed a general downturn in the global economy, low oil prices and the rising dollar increasing the prices of U.S. exports.
Another factor is the continuing contract dispute between port workers along the West Coast and shippers. Moving products has become a logistical headache for both manufacturers and retailers.
Factory orders, not including the transportation category, lost 2.3% in December, the most since March of 2013, and 1.3% off November's total. And for the first time in 10 months, unfilled factory orders were down, losing 0.8%.
Orders for non-defense capital goods fell 0.1%. That number excludes aircraft and is lower than forecast. The sector is seen as a way to judge business confidence and future spending plans.
The reports shows manufacturer inventories were down for December following 18 straight months of gains. The 0.3% drop could change Q4’s gross domestic product estimate announced in January.