WASHINGTON — New orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8% in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

New orders rose $8.6 billion to $484.8 billion following a 0.3% decline in November. November orders were originally reported as virtually unchanged from October.

The latest numbers came in just short of the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted that orders would rise 2.2% from the previous month.

Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.2% after a revised 0.2% decline in November's report, first reported as a 0.2% gain. Excluding defense, orders climbed 0.3%.

Shipments of durable goods rose $2.6 billion or 1.1% to $230.1 billion in December, following a 1.8% increase in November.

Unfilled orders climbed $7.9 billion or 0.8% to $991.7 billion. That increase followed a slight rise in November and was the sixth of the past seven months.

Inventories dropped slightly, falling $100 million to a total of $374.5 billion. The decline came after a 0.1% rise the previous month and was the first decrease in inventory in 15 months.

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