The Commerce Department says a drop in spending on transportation and business equipment contributed to a 4 percent decrease in manufactured durable goods in January.
The biggest drop in three years follows three consecutive monthly increases, including a 3.2 percent increase in December.
The AP reports:
"So-called core capital goods, which are viewed as a good measure of business investment plans, fell 4.5 percent, the biggest drop in a year. Demand for these goods hit an all-time high in December as companies rushed to take advantage of expiring tax breaks on purchases of capital goods.
"In January, overall orders totaled $206.1 billion. That's 38.6 above the low hit during the recession. Orders are still 16 percent below their peak hit in December 2007."