Factory orders dropped 0.8 percent in June

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Businesses cut back on orders for airplanes, autos and heavy machinery in June, lowering demand for factory goods for the second time in three months.

The Commerce Department says orders to U.S. factories fell 0.8 percent in June. A key category that tracks business investment plans managed a small increase, offering a positive sign amid other gloomy reports on the economy.

High energy prices and supply disruptions caused by Japan crisis have slowed manufacturing this spring, along with the broader economy.

Overall demand for factory goods fell to $440.7 billion in June. That’s 31.2 percent higher than the low point during the recession reached in March 2009.