WASHINGTON - New orders for manufactured goods rose $3.3 billion or 0.7% to $469.0 billion in May, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The May increase followed a revised decline of 0.7% in April, originally reported as a 0.6% slip. The jump in orders surpassed the median 0.2% gain predicted by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Driving the increase were orders for transportation equipment, which rose 2.7%. Excluding transportation, new orders rose by 0.4%. Excluding defense, they rose 0.5%.

Shipments rose $1.7 billion or 0.8% to $224.3 billion in May, following a 0.7% increase in April.

Unfilled orders fell slightly to $984.4 billion, the second consecutive decline following a 0.1% drop the previous month. Prior to April, unfilled orders had risen for 27 consecutive months.

Inventories, up 28 of the last 29 months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.5% in May after rising slightly the previous month. The May inventory level is the highest since the data was first published on an NAICS basis in 1992.

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