Orders for U.S. factory goods unexpectedly climbed 0.7 percent in November to $423.85 billion from the prior month, according to the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Economists had been forecasting either a slight decline or slight rise in orders.
Orders for non-defense capital goods (excluding aircraft) rose by 2.6 percent in November, after dropping 3.2 percent the month before.
However, due to a significant drop in demand for civilian airplanes, orders for goods in the transportation sector fell 11.1 percent, after falling 6.2 percent in October.
Excluding the transportation sector, factory orders rose 2.4 percent in November, following a 0.1 percent edge up the previous month.
Also, orders for durable goods slipped by 0.3 percent in November (revised from the previously reported 1.3 percent decline), following a 3.1 percent drop in October.
Orders for nondurable goods factory orders rose 1.7 percent in November, after increasing 1.5 percent in October.