WASHINGTON — New orders for manufactured goods fell $7.1 billion or 1.5% to $460.5 billion in March, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The March decrease followed a downwardly revised increase of 1.1% in February, originally reported as a 1.3% gain. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted the 1.5% drop. It was the largest drop since a 3.0% fall in March 2009.

The overall decline in new orders was mainly due to a drop in orders for transportation equipment, which plummeted 12.6%. Excluding transportation, new orders increased less than 0.1%. Excluding military orders, new orders fell 1.6% to $450.5 billion after rising 0.9% in February.

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