Orders for durable goods increased in December, paced by a surge in orders for defense aircraft and parts.
Durable goods orders rose 2.4 percent to $245.5 billion, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Commerce Department. That was up from $239.8 billion in November. December had the second monthly gain in the past three months.
Fueling the jump was a 168 percent gain for defense aircraft and parts. Such orders totaled $5.9 billion in December, up from $2.2 billion the month before.
The overall transportation equipment category rose 7.6 percent to $82.9 billion. However, two key parts of the category declined during the month.
Orders for commercial aircraft and parts slid 75 percent to $1.45 billion in December. Orders for motor vehicles and parts slipped 0.9 percent to $58.9 billion.
Excluding transportation, durable goods orders fell 0.1 percent, according to the report. Excluding defense, orders declined 2.5 percent.
In other categories, orders for fabricated metal products gained 0.3 percent to $33.5 billion in December. Orders for machinery declined 1.1 percent to $32.2 billion. Orders for primary metals slipped 0.6 percent to $19.7 billion.
The report is based on a survey of about 3,100 companies.