WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. businesses boosted orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in May and a measure of their investment plans rose for a third straight month.

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. businesses boosted orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in May and a measure of their investment plans rose for a third straight month.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods increased 3.6 percent last month, matching April's gain. Most of the increase was because of a surge in commercial aircraft orders. Still, businesses also ordered more computers, machinery and primary metals.

A key category viewed as a proxy for business investment plans rose 1.1 percent in May, matching similar gains in April and March. The category hasn't increased for three consecutive months since the fall of 2011.

The gains suggest businesses could be growing more confident in the economy, a positive sign for economic growth.