updated 6/24/2010 8:45:10 AM ET 2010-06-24T12:45:10

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods declined in May as demand for commercial aircraft dropped off. But excluding transportation, orders rose.

The Commerce Department says demand for durable goods fell 1.1 percent last month. It was the first decline in six months, following April's strong 3 percent increase.

Without the volatile transportation sector, orders were up 0.9 percent. The increase was driven by a 5.6 percent uptick in orders for machinery. Non-transportation orders in April fell by 0.8 percent.

More companies are investing in costly machinery as the recovery gains strength. As manufacturing continues to surge, companies are growing more confident. They are adding jobs, revving up production and buying more equipment.

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