New orders for manufactured goods increased 0.7% to $499.8 billion for April, its highest level since data were first collected in 1992, according to a Department of Commerce report [link opens in PDF] released today. After jumping an upwardly revised 1.5% for March, analysts had expected a smaller 0.5% boost. On the heels of yesterday's positive Institute for Supply Management manufacturing report, this latest report serves as further evidence of a strengthening manufacturing sector.

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Source: Department of Commerce. 

Diving deeper, new orders for durable goods increased (0.6%) for the third straight month, a sign that Americans are increasingly willing to order up longer-term, more expensive items. Transportation equipment proved to be the major mover, up 1.4% for the third straight month, as well despite orders for commercial aircraft, a volatile category, dropping 7.9% and demand for autos and auto parts slipping 0.2%. The AP reports that the overall increase reflected a sharp rise in demand for defense products including airplanes and communications equipment.

New orders for manufactured nondurable goods increased 0.7%.

Unfilled orders and inventories also hit record highs in April, increasing 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively. As a dark mark on this latest report, shipments slipped 0.1% for the third month of declines. But with an above-expectations report on top of additional indices pointing to growth, manufacturing seems to be moving along quite well.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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