Businesses requested more airplanes, autos, and oil drilling equipment in May. The increase in factory orders suggests supply disruptions stemming from the Japan crisis are fading.
The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 0.8 percent in May. That followed a downwardly revised drop of 0.9 percent in April.
Much of the increase was driven by orders for aircraft, a volatile category, which jumped 36.5 percent. Auto and auto parts orders rose 2 percent. Excluding transportation, factory orders increased 0.2 percent in May, the same as April and down from a 2.9 percent gain in March.
The report also shows U.S. companies, flush with cash, are investing in computers and other equipment. A measure of business investment rose 1.6 percent, after falling 0.4 percent the previous month.