In its second report on March factory activity, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on May 3 that new orders for manufactured goods rose 4.2% to $419.6 billion. It was the fifth increase in six months.
New orders for manufactured durables, generally big ticket items such as airplanes, appliances and autos designed to last at least three years, increased 6.5% in March to a record $231.8 billion. The department has previously reported a 6.1% increase. New orders for nondurable manufactured goods increased 1.5% in March to $187.8 billion.