Strong autos drove July factory orders up 2.4 pct.

By Martin Crutsinger

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 31 2011 8:25 a.m. MDT

In this July 27, 2011 photo, assembly line worker Edward Houie moves a door into position for a Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich. Factory orders rose in July, helped by increased demand for autos and commercial aircraft Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011.

Paul Sancya, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. factory orders rose strongly in July on the biggest jump in demand for autos in more than eight years and a surge in commercial airplane orders. The increase suggests supply chain disruptions created by the Japan crisis are easing.

The Commerce Department says factory orders climbed 2.4 percent, the largest increase since March. Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 9.8 percent, the largest one-month gain since January 2003.

The increase follows a decline of 0.4 percent in June, which stoked fears the country could fall back into a recession.

Manufacturing has been one of the leading sectors since the recession officially ended two years ago. But higher energy prices and a parts shortage caused by the Japanese natural disasters slowed activity this spring.

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