Orders to U.S. factories managed a slight gainin July as a surge in demand for commercial aircraft helped offset widespread weakness in other areas.
The Commerce Department says factory orders edged up 0.1 percent in July, the first increase after two months of declines.
But the strength came in the volatile transportation sector. Excluding transportation, orders were down 1.5 percent, the biggest drop in this category in 16 months.
Manufacturing has been the standout performer so far in this recovery with American companies benefiting from stronger growth in China and other developing nations, which has helped offset sluggish U.S. consumer demand.