Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose 0.8% after a 3.6% gain in the prior month that was stronger than previously reported, according to the Commerce Department.
The median forecast of 68 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.7% drop. Orders excluding transportation equipment also advanced.
“Manufacturing is one of the sectors that’s doing well, and it’ll contribute to growth,” said Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies and Co. “Orders will continue to grow in the next few months as pent-up demand gets released. We’re going to see some better activity on the manufacturing front.”
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from decline of 4.3% to a gain of 2% after previously reported 2.5% increase in March.
Excluding transportation equipment demand, which is often volatile, orders increased 0.1% after a 2.9% gain that was stronger than previously estimated. They were projected to be unchanged, according to the Bloomberg survey median.
Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for future business investment in items like computers, engines and communications gear, decreased 1.2 % after a 4.7 % surge the previous month that was the strongest since November.