New orders for US manufactured goods fell for the second month in a row in January as civilian aircraft and computer orders slid, official data released today has shown.

New factory orders fell 0.7% in January after a revised 2% drop in December, the US Commerce Department said.

Analysts had projected a smaller 0.5% decline in orders. The December number was worse than the previous estimate of a 1.5% drop.

New orders have fallen in three of the last four months.

Excluding transportation equipment orders, which can be volatile month-over-month, factory orders edged up 0.2% in January following a slight decline the prior month.

Orders for civilian aircraft and parts dropped 20.2% and those for ships and boats fell 26.4%.

Computer orders posted the steepest decline, plunging 46%.

Orders for durable goods - items aimed at a useful life of several years which make up about half of all factory orders - fell 1% after a plunge of 5.3% in December.