Most of the gains occurred in long-lasting goods, which increased 3.4 percent in November. Orders for nondurable goods such as food products, clothing and paper rose a modest 0.3 percent.
Separate economic reports indicate that manufacturing has remained strong and could drive further growth.
Factory activity in December remained near a 2½-year high, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The trade group said last week that its index of manufacturing activity slipped to 57 in from 57.3 in November. That's still the second-highest reading since April 2011. And any reading above 50 signals growth.
Manufacturers have also bolstered hiring in recent months. Factories added 66,000 jobs from July through November, according to government's employment reports. The government releases its December employment report on Friday.