Orders for costly U.S. manufactured goods fell in July for the second straight month but demand for cars helped to offset some of the decline, the Commerce Department said on Friday. 

Durable goods orders dipped 0.6 percent in July to $182.02 billion after a downwardly revised 2.6 percent drop in June. The department previously said orders fell only 2 percent in June. 

The overall July orders decrease matched the forecasts of U.S. economists in a Reuters survey. However, the closely watched category of non-transportation orders recorded a much steeper decline than expected, falling 1.4 percent compared to projections for a 0.6 percent drop. 

The report sent mixed signals on the U.S. economy, which has been mired in a slump. Orders for motor vehicles and parts shot up 3.8 percent in July, a positive sign for the key automobile sector. But orders for several categories of business equipment recorded declines.