May 28, 2009 / 12:37 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. April durable goods orders post biggest gain in 16 months

Employees work on cars on the Nissan production line at the company's factory in Washington, northern England in this March 20, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in April, posting their biggest gain in 16 months, according to government data on Thursday that suggested the recession was winding down.

April’s 1.9 percent increase was the biggest percentage advance since December 2007, when orders rose 4.1 percent, the Commerce Department said.

However, March orders were revised sharply lower, falling 2.1 percent from the previously reported 0.8 percent decline.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected overall new orders to rise 0.4 percent in April, and orders excluding transportation to ease 0.3 percent.

New orders excluding transportation climbed 0.8 percent in April after declining 2.7 percent in March, boosted by orders for communications equipment, machinery and fabricated metal products.

However, there were some dark spots in the report. Civilian aircraft and parts tumbled 6.8 percent after surging 7.5 percent in March.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, fell 1.5 percent in April. The prior month was revised to show a 1.4 percent decline, previously reported as a 0.4 percent gain.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman

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