After two straight monthly gains, new orders for US manufactured goods fell back in May, mainly due to a drop in volatile defense aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported on July 5.
Manufacturers' new orders declined 1% in the month to $455.2 billion, after successive monthly gains of 1.7% in March and 1.8% in April.
Excluding defense orders, which can swing heavily from month to month, new manufacturing orders fell 0.3%.
The manufacturing sector overall remains sluggish, due to slow domestic and global economic activity and the strong dollar's impact on U.S. exports.
For the first five months of the year, new orders were down 1.9% from the same period a year ago.