Businesses increased their orders for heavy machinery, computers, autos and steel in March, boosting demand for long-lasting manufactured goods for a third straight month.
The Commerce Department says durable-goods orders rose 2.5 percent in March. That's up from a small 0.7 percent increase the previous month.
A key category considered a proxy for business investment rose 3.7 percent after two lackluster months.
Orders for durable goods totaled $208.4 billion in March, 29.8 percent above the recession low hit in March 2009.