In data released Wednesday by the Department of Commerce, factory orders for September rose 2.1%, more than expected, or $8.8 billion, for a total of $420 billion. Economists had expected only a rise of 1.6%, according to a Reuters forecast. This was the largest increase in eight months.
New orders, less the volatile transportation sector, rose 0.4%. The figures for August’s new orders, also without transportation included, were revised upward to 1.3%; the original was 0.9%.
Transportation itself was up the most, $7.5 billion or 15.8%, to $54.8 billion, with commercial aircraft orders more than double the previous month and orders for ships and boats up 19.2%.
Another pricey sector, machinery, was up by 2.2%, and long-term investment in defense goods gained 8.5%, reaching a level not seen since January.