(CN) – Factory orders across the U.S. increased by 1.2 percent in August, driven by strong demand for industrial machinery and cars as well as aluminum and other metals, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
The gain comes after a 3.3 percent decline in July, and suggests the manufacturing sector is benefiting from an improving global economy.
The Commerce Department said it was unable to isolate the impact of Harvey and Irma on the data as the survey is “designed to estimate the month-to-month change in manufacturing activity at the national level and not at specific geographic areas.”
Industrial machinery orders rose 11.5 percent in August after two months of declines and orders for autos rose 0.7 percent after declining 2.2 percent in July.
In August, orders for machinery gained 0.3 percent after rising 0.2 percent in July. Mining, oil field and gas field machinery orders dropped 5.1 percent after leaping 3.7 percent in July.
Orders for transportation equipment advanced 5.1 percent, reflecting a 44.8 percent surge in civilian aircraft orders.
Meanwhile, orders for durable goods — items meant to last at least three years — were back up 2 percent after falling 6.8 percent in July.
And orders for metals rose 1.2 percent, its best showing since February, and included a gain of 2.3 percent for aluminum orders.