Factory Orders Jump in October

In yet another indication of a U.S. economic rebound after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for manufactured goods rose sharply in October on surging demand for computers and new military planes.

The Commerce Department said new factory orders increased by 7.1 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted $333.19 billion. The biggest gain since June of last year, it followed a 6.5 percent decline in orders seen in September.

While much of the increase was related to a strong gain in defense orders for aircraft, which rose to $15.27 billion in October from $2.59 billion, some other sectors also posted rebounds.

Orders for computers and electronics were up 9.9 percent after a 8.5 percent slide in September, while orders for fabricated metal products rose 3.4 percent after a 4.4 percent drop. Overall orders excluding defense-related items were up 3.3 percent in October, the largest gain since May last year.

The gain in factory orders was larger than Wall Street analysts had expected. In a Reuters survey, economists had forecast orders to rise only 6.3 percent.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.