WASHINGTON — New orders for manufactured goods fell $24.9 billion or 5.2% to $452.8 billion in August, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The decline followed a revised increase of 2.6% in July, originally reported as a 2.8% gain. The slide was near the median 5.9% drop predicted by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. The August decrease was the largest since a 6.6% decline in January 2009.

Driving the decrease was a large drop in the shipments of capital goods, which fell 26.3% to their lowest level since July 2000. Shipments of transportation equipment dropped 34.9%, the largest decrease on record.

Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.7%.

Shipments of durable goods fell $6.7 billion or 2.9% to $222.4 billion in August, following a 1.8% increase the previous month.

Unfilled orders dipped $17 billion or 1.7% to $978.8 billion. That decline followed a 0.7% rise in July, and was the steepest drop since a 2.1% slide in December 2009.

Inventories rose $2.4 billion or 0.6% to $372.2 billion, the thirty-first increase of the past 32 months. The advance came after a 0.9% rise the previous month, and was the highest since the data was first published on an NAICS basis in 1992.

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