March orders for manufactured durable goods increased 3.4 percent, marking the fourth increase in the last five months, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

New orders increased 2.4 percent in February. Transportation equipment had the largest increase, 8 percent, driven mainly by non-defense aircraft and parts. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.5 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 4.5 percent.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods had slipped 1.4 percent in February, but rose 0.8 percent in March. Unfilled orders increased 1.8 percent, reaching the highest level since the current reporting system was adopted in 1992. Inventories inched up 0.3 percent following a 0.1 percent increase in February.
Non-defense new orders for capital goods rose 11.7 percent in March. Shipments were up 0.8 percent. Defense new orders fell 22.4 percent, Shipments decreased 2.7 percent.