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US factory orders increase 1.1 per cent in March with business investment jumping 3.5 per cent

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 photo, Jesus Rodriguez grinds steel at the IDEAL Group in Detroit. The Commerce Department releases factory orders for March on Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 photo, Jesus Rodriguez grinds steel at the IDEAL Group in Detroit. The Commerce Department releases factory orders for March on Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

WASHINGTON - Orders to U.S. factories advanced strongly for a second month in March while demand in a key category that signals business investment plans increased by the largest amount in more than a year.

The strength was further evidence that the economy was rebounding after a harsh winter.

The Commerce Department says orders increased 1.1 per cent in March after increasing 1.5 per cent in February. Those gains followed two months of declines in December and January.

Orders for core capital goods, considered a good proxy for business investment, jumped 3.5 per cent in March, rebounding from a 0.9 per cent drop in February. It was the biggest increase since January 2013.

Economists say rising demand will boost factory production in coming months, helping the overall economy emerge from a winter slowdown.

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