New orders for U.S.-made durable goods surged a much larger-than-expected 4.4 percent in November on a jump in civilian aircraft but non-transportation orders slid as defense outlays tumbled, a government report showed on Friday.

It was the largest rise in overall durable goods orders since May. Economists had forecast orders for these expensive items built to last three years or more to rise 1 percent and had looked for orders outside transportation to climb 1 percent.

October orders were revised upward to an increase of 3 percent from a previously reported 2.2 percent gain.

The overall number was boosted by a 133.8 rise in non-defense aircraft and parts. Meanwhile, motor vehicles and parts orders slipped 5.7 percent while defense aircraft and parts orders tumbled 44.3 percent. Defense capital goods orders fell 26.6 percent.

Machinery orders dropped 1.6 percent and communications equipment orders fell 4.4 percent.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, seen as a proxy for business spending, dropped by 2.0 percent.

In a potential harbinger of stronger factory production to come, unfilled orders jumped 3.1 percent, the biggest increase since June 2000 and the seventh straight monthly gain, to a record high $621.8 billion.