WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in September with a key category that tracks business investment plans declining for a second straight month.

WASHINGTON (AP) Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell in September with a key category that tracks business investment plans declining for a second straight month.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods dropped 1.2 percent September. That follows a 3 percent drop in August, an even bigger dip than first reported.

Orders in a category that serves as a proxy for business investment fell 0.3 percent after a 1.6 percent drop in August.

Durable goods orders have been down in four of the past six months, a sign of the problems facing manufacturers as they struggle with economic weakness in key export markets like China. A stronger dollar has also been a drag, making American products less competitive overseas.