Orders for US big-ticket factory goods surge 15.8% in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to American factories for big-ticket goods rebounded last month from a disastrous April as the U.S. economy began to slowly reopen.

The Commerce Department said that orders for manufactured goods meant to last at least three years shot up 15.8% in May after plunging 18.1% in April. Economists expected a rebound, but the May increase was stronger than expected.

A category that tracks business investment — orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft — rose 2.3% after plunging 6.5% in April.

The lockdowns, travel restrictions and social distancing measures meant to contain COVID-19 brought economic activity to a near standstill across the United States in March and April.