WASHINGTON New orders for U.S. factory goods rose more than expected in July, posting the biggest increase since July 2011 and rising for the second time in three months.
The Commerce Department said on Friday new orders for manufactured goods rose 2.8 percent during July.
Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast orders rising 1.9 percent during the month.
U.S. factories have been a major part of the country's recovery from the 2007-2009 recession.
But manufacturing has appeared to be one of the more vulnerable sectors to the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. New orders for manufactured goods fell 0.5 percent in June.
Transportation equipment helped July orders beat expectations, with orders for motor vehicles and parts up 20.6 percent, the biggest jump in one year. Orders for civilian aircraft leapt 53.9 percent in July.
Excluding transportation, new orders rose 0.7 percent during the month.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft - seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans - fell 4 percent in July.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by James Dalgleish)