Orders for durable goods rose last month by the largest amount in two years, fresh evidence that manufacturing is rebounding from the recession.
The Commerce Department says orders for goods expected to last at least three years increased 4.9 percent in July, the third rise in the past four months. Analysts expected a 3 percent increase. Orders for June were revised up to a 1.3 percent drop, from a 2.2 percent decline.
Orders for transportation equipment rose 18.4 percent. Commercial aircraft orders, a volatile category, more than doubled after falling 30 percent in June. Motor vehicle orders increased 0.9 percent.
Excluding transportation goods, orders rose 0.8 percent. That was the third straight increase, but just below analysts' expectations of a 0.9 percent rise.