Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
Factory orders declined 1.5% in December, the biggest drop in five months, the Commerce Department reported Feb. 4.
The decline followed a revised 1.5% rise in November. Orders for durable goods, items meant to last three years or more, declined 4.2% in December.
Analysts say the decline reflects a temporary slowdown following a rush to purchase capital goods in November to take advantage of expiring federal tax breaks, the Associated Press reported.
Orders for construction machinery declined 2.9%, and demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile category, dropped 17.5%.
Orders for 2013 increased 2.5% to $5.82 trillion as manufacturing continues to recover from the Great Recession, AP reported.