After climbing 3.7 percent in September, durable goods orders dropped 2 percent or by $4.6 billion to $230.3 billion.
The headline figure was in line with expectations. Economists had forecast a drop of 1.9 percent in orders for goods expected to last three years or more.
New orders fell for the first time in three months. For the year through October, durable goods have turned lower in four months and climbed in six.
In October, transportation equipment orders declined 5.9 percent or by $4.6 billion to $73 billion.
The category that includes ships, jets, trains and trucks frequently determines the direction of the durable goods data on the whole.
Durable goods orders still fell with transportation equipment excluded from the data, but that decline came to 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said.
Excluding defense orders, the durable goods orders fell 1.3 percent.
Shipments of durable goods rose marginally, climbing 0.2 percent to $233.2 billion. Shipments of transportation equipment also rose, climbing 1.1 percent to $70.9 billion.
Factories reported an increase in unfilled orders, which rose for the eighth month out of the past nine with a hike of $3.5 billion to $1.045 trillion, a modern peak for the category.
Inventories up six of the past seven months, rose 0.3 percent, or by $1.2 billion to $383.3 billion, also a post-1992 record.
Non-defense orders for capital goods -- orders for business equipment -- dropped 3.9 percent to $77.9 billion. The category is seen as an economic bellwether, as it reveals how much businesses are investing in themselves for future productivity.