Companies showed a greater appetite for longer-lasting items like cars and airplanes in November, with durable goods orders rising by 3.5 percent.
Durable goods orders had slumped a bit in October, falling by 0.7 percent. Analysts had expected a more moderate gain in November, with a median forecast of around 2 percent.
In all, transportation-related orders jumped 8.4 percent. But excluding those gains, new durable orders rose 1.2 percent, in another sign that businesses are growing more willing to invest.
Machinery, computers and communications equipment also saw higher orders in November.