The Commerce Department said U.S. durable goods orders rose 1.1 percent in May, a gain that exceeded the 0.4 percent rise economists expected.
New orders in May rose to $217.2 billion following two consecutive months of declines, including a 0.2 percent drop in April.
Transportation orders in May had the largest increase, jumping for the third month out of the past four.
Transportation orders rose by 2.7 percent to $63.1 billion, a gain of $1.7 billion.
Within transportation, commercial aircraft and parts rose by $400 million.
With transportation orders excluded, new orders rose by 0.4 percent in May.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods rose by 0.7 percent to $224.1 billion, rising for the fifth month out of the past six. Shipment of transportation goods posted the largest gains, rising by $1 billion or 1.6 percent to $65.1 billion.
Non-defense capital goods orders rose 1.3 percent to $70.4 billion. Defense-oriented capital goods orders rose by 7.8 percent to $6.9 billion in the month, the department said.