New orders received by U.S. factories rose in October as demand for motor vehicles helped to offset a slump in defense and civilian aircraft orders, a hopeful sign for the manufacturing sector.
The U.S. Commerce Department said orders for factory goods increased 0.8 percent after a revised 4.5 percent rise in September. It was the second straight month of gains and beat economists’ expectations for a flat reading.
The department’s gauge stands in contrast to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report on Monday that its index of national manufacturing activity dropped last month to its lowest level since July 2009.
The Commerce Department report showed orders for transportation equipment fell 2.3 percent in October on weak civilian and defense aircraft. Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 3.0 percent.
Unfilled orders at U.S. factories rose 0.3 percent in October after increasing 0.1 percent the prior month. Shipments of factory goods increased 0.4 percent after rising 0.7 percent the prior month, while inventories edged up 0.1 percent.
The department said orders for durable goods, manufactured products expected to last three years or more, rose 0.5 percent instead of being flat as reported last week.
Durable goods orders excluding transportation were up 1.8 percent in October instead of up 1.5 percent. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft – seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans – increased 2.9 percent in October instead of the previously reported 1.7 percent increase.