Orders for manufactured goods surged in July at the fastest rate in nine months, the Commerce Department announced today.

The report showed a record demand for machinery and a strong appetite for other capital goods.

Factory orders rose 4.7 percent in July to $327.58 billion, the Commerce Department said. That followed a downwardly revised drop of 2.5 percent in June.

There were sharp increases in many sectors. Machinery orders surged 13.4 percent, the largest increase on record. That followed an 8.4 percent drop in June. Demand for computers and electronic products climbed 3.7 percent after a 4.6 percent fall the previous month.

The closely watched category of durable goods orders soared 9.2 percent, also the largest rise since October last year.

Stripping out defense, orders rose 3.9 percent after a fall of 2.9 percent in June.

Excluding transportation, the rise in orders was 1.8 percent after a matching drop the prior month.

Total unfilled orders, an indicator of future demand, rose 0.3 percent after falling 1.6 percent in June.