Demand for big-ticket manufactured goods produced in the United States dropped less than expected in March, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Orders for durable goods -- defined as manufactured products meant to last more than three years -- dropped by $1.3 billion or 0.8 percent to $161.2 billion; the decrease was only about half of the average industry analysts' prediction of 1.5 percent. The drop follows a 2.1 percent increase in February. Demand fell for transportation products -- including motor vehicles -- primary metals, machinery, and computer products; orders increased for commercial aircraft and military aircraft. Shipments of durable goods fell 1.7 percent in March and were down 18 percent for the first quarter compared with the same period in 2008.