WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. factory orders for long-lasting manufactured goods slumped in November, largely due to falling demand for military and defense goods.

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. factory orders for long-lasting manufactured goods slumped in November, largely due to falling demand for military and defense goods.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that orders for durable goods dropped 0.7 percent last month, the third decline in the past four months. Much of the decrease came from a steep 8.1 percent plunge in demand for defense-related goods.

Orders for metal products and electronics also slid in November. The decline overwhelmed the gains notched in autos, civilian aircraft and machinery.

A key category that economists view as a proxy for business investment spending which excludes volatile aircraft and defense orders was flat last month. That marks an improvement from declines of 1.9 percent in October and 1.1 percent in September.