WASHINGTON -- New orders for U.S. manufactured goods edged higher in July after a solid increase in June, led by gains for boats and ships, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Factory orders rose 0.4% in July, slower than June's 2.2% rise.
But for the January-July period this year, orders were down 7.3% by value from the same period in 2014.
Orders for transportation equipment jumped 5.5% month on month on a surge in demand for ships and boats, up more than 19%, that offset declines for aircraft.
Excluding transportation equipment orders, which can be volatile month to month, July factory orders fell 0.6% after a gain of that size the prior month.
Manufacturing, which accounts for about three quarters of total U.S. industrial output, has been under pressure from a stronger dollar weighing on exports.
But supporting manufacturers has been a steep fall in the prices of key commodities like steel used in production.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015