WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by the largest amount in three months, helped by solid gains in demand for airplanes and autos.

WASHINGTON (AP) Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by the largest amount in three months, helped by solid gains in demand for airplanes and autos.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods increased 2.2 percent last month following a 1.3 percent drop in January. The February rebound was led by a 13.6 percent surge in orders for commercial aircraft. Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose 3.6 percent, recovering from a January decline.

But a category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans fell 1.3 percent in February, the biggest drop since a 1.6 percent December decline. Orders in this category had been up 0.8 percent in January.

Economists are hoping for a sustained rebound in manufacturing as the economy improves this year.