​U.S. durable goods orders slide in February

WASHINGTON - Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in February, with a key category that tracks business investment dropping by the largest amount since December.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods fell 2.8 percent in February following a 4.2 percent increase in January. Commercial aircraft, a volatile category, fell 27.1 percent after surging 48.6 percent in January.

Orders in a category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending fell 1.8 percent after a 3.1 percent rise in January. It was the biggest decline in the investment category since a 3.5 percent drop in December.

Manufacturing had a tough year in 2015, and its prospects remain uncertain for 2016. The sector is being hurt by economic weakness in major export markets compounded by a strong dollar.