WASHINGTON — New orders for manufactured durable goods rose $19.6 billion or 9.9% to $218.2 billion in September, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The increase in new orders, the largest month-over-month advance since a 13.9% increase in January 2010, followed a sharp drop of 13.1% in August. The August number was originally reported as a 13.2% plunge.

Excluding transportation, new orders rose 2%, and excluding defense, they jumped 9.1%. Excluding aircraft, new orders remained unchanged from the previous month.

The increase in durable goods orders exceeded the 6.9% rise projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. Transportation equipment orders led the charge by increasing 31.7%, a big turnaround from a 33.7% decline in August and the largest monthly gain for that category since a 59.1% surge in January 2010.

The economists projected a 0.8% gain for new orders excluding transportation.

Durable goods shipments increased $1.8 billion or 0.8% to $224.2 billion in September. The uptick followed a revised 2.9% dip in August, originally reported as a 3% drop.

Unfilled orders for durable goods rose $1.6 billion or 0.2% to $980.8 billion, following a revised 1.7% decrease in August.

Inventories, which have risen in 32 of the past 33 months, were up $900 million or 0.3% to $372.9 billion in September, the highest level since the series was published on a NAICS basis in 1992. The gain followed an unrevised 0.6% gain in August.

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