WASHINGTON -- New orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods jumped by a sharper-than-expected 4.9 percent in July as the economy showed signs of emerging from recession, government data showed Wednesday.
It was the third increase in the past four months and the largest percent increase since July 2007, the Commerce Department reported.
Most analysts had expected a 3.2 percent increase in July following a 1.3 percent drop in June amid persistent reports indicating that the world's largest economy was slowly emerging from recession that struck in December 2007.
Durable goods — those likely to last three years or more, such as autos and appliances, and one measure of business demand — increased $7.8 billion or 4.9 percent to $168.4 billion in July, The Commerce Department said.
Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8 percent, it said. Excluding defense, the increase was 4.3 percent.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods also were up in July for the second consecutive month, increasing by $3.5 billion or 2.0 percent to $173.1 billion. The rise followed a 0.7 percent June increase.