WASHINGTON — New orders for manufactured durable goods plummeted $30.1 billion or 13.2% to $198.5 billion in August, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The sharp drop in orders, which followed three consecutive monthly increases, was the largest decline since a 14.3% drop in January 2009. The large decrease followed a revised 3.3% gain in July, originally reported as a 4.2% increase.

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