STAMFORD — Reports of resurgent U.S. manufacturing activity suggests that economic recovery is well underway.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said factory orders have increased for a fifth straight month, and that new orders for manufactured goods rose 3.0 percent to $463 billion in April, above Wall Street estimates of just a 1.9 percent rise.

Commerce said orders for costly durable goods designed to last more than three years were up 2.9 percent in March, a sign that producers are taking advantage of the cheaper U.S. dollar. Orders for non-defense capital goods (excluding aircraft), also showed a 4.1-percent growth in March, the strongest rise since last August. Orders for primary metals, machinery and electrical equipment were also on the rise.

Senior government bond strategist Ian Lyngen of Stamford’s CRT Capital Group said these latest reports were “solid” though with “lingering weakness” from earlier this year.

The Institute for Supply Management also reported that factory activity gauge is at 60.4, with any level over 50 an indicator that business is expanding.

 FAIRFIELD — The Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) has selected General Electric (GE) to provide gas turbine technology for the expansion of four power plants in Saudi Arabia, in a deal valued at greater than $500 million.

GE also will provide technical advisory services as well as performance testing for the plants. The company’s power-generation technology and services are contributing to the creation of nearly half of Saudi Arabia’s capacity.

These contracts put GE’s total orders for SEC in the last two years at more than $2 billion, with the company also having invested more than $100 million in Saudi Arabia over the last two years. It will soon open its GE Energy Manufacturing Technology Center in Dammam.

SEC plans for a 600-megawatt expansion of its plant in Qurayyah, 480-megawatt expansions of the PP-10 power plant south of Riyadh City, and at Qassim, and a 120-megawatt expansion of a facility near Tabouk.

The expansions will supply additional power to Saudi Arabia’s eastern and central regions, adding 1,680 megawatts of power to the Saudi grid in time for the high demands during summer months. The country’s electricity demand has been growing at a rate of about six percent annually. The plants also will add more than 100 new local jobs.