Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in November and a gauge of planned business spending on capital goods recorded its largest increase in nearly a year, pointing to sustained strength in the economy.
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The Commerce Department said on Tuesday durable goods orders jumped 3.5 percent as demand increased for a range of goods from aircraft to machinery and computers and electronic products.
Last month's increase, which outpaced economists' expectations for a 2 percent increase, more than reversed October's revised 0.7 percent drop. Excluding transportation, orders rose 1.2 percent, the largest increase since May.
Durable goods range from toasters to aircraft.
Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, surged 4.5 percent, breaking two straight months of declines. It was the largest increase since January.
Economists had expected orders for these so-called core capital goods to increase 0.7 percent in November after a 0.7 percent fall in October.
The report suggested strength in manufacturing and was further evidence of a firming economic growth outlook.
The gain in orders is in line with other data such as industrial production and a survey of national factories that have offered a fairly bullish assessment of the sector.
Last month, durable goods orders rose almost across the board, with notable gains in transportation.
Transportation equipment orders increased 8.4 percent after falling 3.5 percent. Civilian aircraft orders jumped 21.8 percent and orders for motor vehicles recorded their largest increase since February.
Boeing received orders for 110 aircraft in November, up from 79 aircraft the prior month, according to information posted on the aircraft company's website.
Outside transportation there were gains in orders for computers and electronic products, machinery and fabricated metal products, among others. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Krista Hughes)