Japan machinery orders up for 2nd month

New government data shows activity on factory floors has been picking up in Japan. Private-sector machinery orders grew in April for the second straight month.

Japan's Cabinet Office says major machinery makers received more than 7 billion dollars in orders from domestic companies. That's up 10.8 percent in yen terms from March.

The figure is a key indicator of corporate investment in facilities and equipment. It excludes orders for ships and from electric utilities, which tend to fluctuate widely.

The rise has prompted the Cabinet Office to revise its assessment of machinery orders upward, saying there are signs of improvement.

Orders from manufacturers grew more than 10 percent from the previous month. That was driven by higher demand for chip-manufacturing equipment from electrical machinery makers. Automakers also placed more orders for machine tools.

Orders from non-manufacturers also logged an increase, up nearly 9 percent. This was largely due to greater demand for train cars from transportation and postal companies.