WASHINGTON -- New orders for manufactured goods rose 3% in February, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
New orders rose $14.5 billion to $492 billion following a 1% decline the previous month, originally reported as falling 2%. February's 3% jump was the largest monthly increase since a 4.5% increase in September.
The latest numbers came in just above of the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted that orders would rise 2.9% from the previous month.
Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.3%. Excluding defense, orders climbed 2.4%.
Total shipments increased $4.3 billion or 0.9% to $489.3 billion following a 0.4% January advance. Shipments of durable goods rose $2.2 billion or 1% to $229.5 billion in February, following a 0.7% downturn in January.
Unfilled orders of durable goods climbed $9.3 billion or 0.9% to $999.7 billion. That increase followed a slight decline in January.
Total inventories rose for the third consecutive month, climbing $1.1 billion or 0.2% to $620 billion following a 0.6% January increase. That increase put the figure at its highest since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992.
Inventories of durable goods rose for the sixteenth time in 17 months, increasing $1.8 billion or 0.5% to a total of $377.2 billion. The increase came after a 0.4% uptick the previous month.