Fresh orders in April rose by $4.9 billion to $474 billion. The March decline, meanwhile, previously reported as a 4 percent slide, was revised to a 4.7 percent drop.
For April, transportation orders -- a category that includes pricey items, such as planes, trains and ships -- lead the advance. Without transportation orders, factory orders were off by 0.1 percent, the department's Census Bureau News said.
By themselves, transportation orders, which have risen in two of the past three months, climbed by $5.2 billion in April or by 8.4 percent to $67.4 billion.
Orders for durable goods, also up two months of the past three, rose by $7.4 billion or 3.5 percent to $222.7 billion, the bureau said.
In contrast, new orders for non-durable goods fell by 1 percent or $2.6 billion to $251.3 billion.
Inventories of manufactured durable goods, up for three of the past four months, rose by 0.3 percent or $1.3 billion to $377.8 billion, reaching the highest level since 1992.
Factories shipped less in April than in March with shipments down by $1 billion or 0.4 percent to $227.4 billion.
The decline was lead by shipments of computers and electronics, which dropped by $800 million or 3 percent to $27.6 billion.