Orders excluding the volatile transportation category slipped 0.8 percent in July. But that followed a 1.4 percent increase the prior month, leaving the overall trend positive for manufacturing.
Manufacturing is accelerating, with the Institute for Supply Management reporting on Tuesday that its gauge of factory activity hit its highest level in nearly 3-1/2 years in August. In addition, a measure of new orders touched a 10-year high.
In July, orders for transportation equipment soared a record 74.1 percent, reflecting outsized civilian aircraft orders received by Boeing that was flagged in the durable goods orders report published last week.
Capital goods orders surged a record 52.5 percent. But orders for primary metals, machinery, computers and electrical equipment, appliances and components fell.
The Commerce Department also said orders for durable goods, manufactured products expected to last three years and more, increased 22.6 percent in July, as it had reported last week.
Durable goods orders excluding transportation slipped 0.7 percent instead of the previously reported 0.8 percent fall.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft - seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans - declined by a slightly bigger 0.7 percent. They were previously reported to have slipped 0.5 percent.