New orders for manufactured goods increased 3.3% to $222.6 billion for April, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today. After falling a revised 5.9% in March, this month's increase is a return to average, rather than a major manufacturing boost.


Analysts' 1.1% growth estimates proved too pessimistic for April's numbers. Transportation equipment led the rebound, boosting 8.1% to $67.6 billion. But even excluding transportation numbers, new orders still managed a 1.3% bump, beating Mr. Market's 0.4% prediction.

Shipments fell 0.6% on a 2.9% slump in computers and electronic products, but unfilled orders increased 0.3% primarily because of a 0.8% bump in computers and electric products.

Inventories squeaked up 0.4% to $377.9 billion for April, setting (yet again) a new record since data was first recorded in 1992.

Today's April report exceeded expectations, but a May manufacturing index report released yesterday points to potentially tough times ahead.