A key measure shows orders for many U.S.-made goods posted their strongest gain in six months in September.
The Commerce Department says outside the volatile transportation sector, orders for durable goods in the overall economy gained 1.7 percent for the month.
If you include orders for civilian aircraft and other transportation items, the month saw a decline in orders. But experts say they get a clearer picture of the economy by excluding transportation orders that swing wildly from month to month.
Wednesday's report covers expensive manufactured items intended to last more than three years, which economists call “durable goods.”
Experts say orders for durables have increased to meet rising demand from growing overseas markets They have also been helped by a decline in the value of the dollar, which gives U.S.-made goods a price advantage in foreign markets.
Manufacturing has been helping the U.S. economy recover from the worst recession in decades. The strong durable goods report is one reason that some economists predict a report on Thursday will show that U.S. economic growth speeded up in July, August, and September.
A separate report on the sale of new homes across the United States showed sales rose 5.7 percent in September. The boost in sales follows a 10 percent drop in prices over the past year.
The sale of new homes makes up just a fraction of the overall market. A report last week showed sale of previously-owned homes declined. In both reports the number of home sales is well below that seen in a healthy real estate market.