Durable-goods orders climbed 1.7% last month, the government said Wednesday. Economists polled had forecast a 1% gain.
The increase stemmed mainly from a big batch of orders for commercial aircraft. Bookings surged 45%.
Demand was higher for most other manufactured goods, but orders grew at a smaller pace. Orders minus transportation edged up 0.2%.
A key measure of business investment, meanwhile, showed more muscle. So-called core capital-goods orders advanced 0.9% and rose for the eighth time in the past nine months.
Business investment has surged at an 8% annualized rate in the past three months.