New orders received by factories unexpectedly rose in November, and orders excluding transportation recorded their largest gain in eight months, providing more signs the economic recovery was on sustainable path.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday orders for manufactured goods increased 0.7 percent after dropping a revised 0.7 percent in October.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders slipping 0.1 percent in November from a previously reported 0.9 percent decline in October. Orders have risen in four of the last five months.
Manufacturing has been the star performer during the recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s and continues to expand. Factories appear to be ramping up activity to meet a pickup in demand from consumers and businesses.
Analysts have forecast economic growth at an annual pace of between 3 percent and 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter after a 2.6 percent expansion in the third quarter.
U.S. financial markets had little reaction to the data. Stocks were little changed as optimism over the economic outlook was offset by a decline in consumer stocks.