New orders at U.S. factories jumped a much stronger than expected 1.4 percent in March, and durable goods orders for the month rose a revised 0.1 percent, a government report showed.
Orders for durable goods, items intended to last three years or longer, were originally reported last week to have fallen 0.3 percent in March.
Analysts polled by Reuters forecast factory orders to increase only 0.2 percent after dropping 0.9 percent in February, stronger than the 1.3 percent decrease originally reported.
When the volatile transportation component was stripped out, factory orders had a healthier increase of 2.2 percent, compared to a 1.5 percent decline in February.
Inventories of manufactured goods continued to swell last month, by 0.9 percent, to the highest since the Commerce Department began keeping records in 1992.
Inventories have increased in 13 of the last 14 months, the department said.