By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON -- New orders for U.S. factory goods rose for the third straight month in June, the latest indication that a recent slowdown in manufacturing activity had probably run its course.
The Commerce Department said Friday new orders for manufactured goods increased 1.5 percent. May's orders were revised to show a 3.0 percent rise instead of the previously reported 2.1 percent advance.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new orders received by factories increasing 2.3 percent.
Manufacturing slowed in the spring, hobbled by tight fiscal policy and weak global demand, but there are signs it is starting to find some momentum.
Data Thursday showed a gauge of national factory activity rising to a two-year high in June, driven by a surge in production and new orders.
The Commerce Department report showed factory orders in June were boosted by demand for transportation equipment, with orders there rising 12 percent.
Orders excluding the volatile transportation category slipped 0.4 percent after rising 1.0 percent in May. Unfilled orders for factory goods jumped 2.1 percent, the largest increase since December 2007, a good sign for future manufacturing activity.
The department also said orders for durable goods, which are manufactured products expected to last three years or more, rose 3.9 percent instead of the 4.2 percent increase reported last week.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -- seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans -- rose 0.9 percent versus a 0.7 increase reported last week.