Orders for manufactured goods rose 2.2% in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
The gain was much stronger than expected. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal were expecting a 1% increase.
The factory sector has been a bright spot during the pandemic and its aftermath. Factor orders have risen in 22 of the past 23 months.
Durable-goods orders rose a revised 1.1% in March, revised from the initial estimate of a 0.8% gain. Durable goods orders are up in five of the past 6 months.
Orders for nondurable goods jumped 3.2 % in the month.
A key indicator of business investment, orders for nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft, rose a revised 1.3% in March, up from the prior reading of a 1% gain .