Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods outside of the volatile transportation category rose by the largest amount in eight months in November. Factories saw demand increase for computers, appliances and heavy machinery.

The Commerce Department says total orders for durable goods dropped 1.3 percent, a decline that reflected sagging demand for aircraft and autos. But excluding transportation, orders rose 2.4 percent, the best showing since last March.

The widespread gain outside of transportation was an encouraging sign that factories will be ramping up production and hiring more workers in coming months.