Orders for long-lasting factory goods rose in July

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Companies ordered more aircraft and autos last month, driving up demand for long-lasting manufactured goods. But outside those categories, businesses invested less in durable goods.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 4 percent in July, the biggest increase since March. Demand for autos and auto parts jumped 11.5 percent, the most in eight years. Aircraft orders, a volatile category, soared 43.4 percent, after falling 24 percent in June.

A key category that tracks business investment plans dropped 1.5 percent, the biggest drop in six months. That suggests businesses are pulling back on spending.

Excluding transportation goods, orders rose 0.7 percent. Demand for primary metals rose 10.3 percent, the most since last November.

Orders in all other major categories dropped, including computers, electronic goods, and machinery.