New orders for durable goods jumped 2.6% to $235 billion for March, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.
After increasing a revised 2.1% for February, March's growth signals unexpectedly sustained strength. Overall, analysts had predicted a slighter 2% bump. Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years. Manufacturing managed a seasonally adjusted 3.4% month-over-month boost in new orders, while computers and electronic products pushed ahead 5.7%.
There was a 4% increase in demand for transportation goods. Orders for commercial aircraft advanced 8.6% while demand for motor vehicles and parts rose just 0.4%.
Excluding volatile transportation orders (which include aircraft), March's numbers still look stellar. Although new orders growth excluding transportation clocked in at a smaller 2%, analysts had expected just 0.9% growth.
As overall new orders expanded, so did shipments, up 1.1% to $237 billion. Unfilled orders added on 0.6% to hit $1.068 trillion, the highest level since data were first recorded in 1992. Inventories also hit a new high, up 0.5% to $394 billion.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.