Commerce Department data released today showed a slight uptick in factory orders in May. By beating expectations, the report may give hope that the end to the slowdown in manufacturing may be on the horizon.

Or maybe not.

New orders for U.S. made goods grew $4.1 billion in the month, marking a 1.2% spike. That represents the largest jump since last summer. After excluding transportation orders, which tend to swing wildly, new orders jumped 0.8%.

New orders for manufactured goods have tracked upwards three of the last four months.

New orders for durable goods, which has also grown three of the last four months, inched up 1.8%, or $2.9 billion. Nondurables increased by $1.2 billion, or 0.7%.

Unfilled orders also dropped by 0.2%, or $1.8 billion, to come to $747.3 billion.

Earlier in the day, however, a report from the Labor Department said that the unemployment rate jumped to 9.5% on higher-than-expected job cuts in June.

Following the mix of data and at the end of a holiday-shortened week, it appears investors were more focused on the slumping jobs data in pummeling most big manufacturing stocks this morning.

United States Steel ( X) was sliding 1.6% by the late morning. It was joined by International Paper ( IP) and General Electric ( GE), which also saw its shares down 0.6% and 1.5%.

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) was 1.8%, Marathon Oil ( MRO) was slipping 4.2%, while Boeing ( BA) was down 3.2%.

Dow Chemical ( DOW) wasn't faring any better, down 2.6% before the afternoon.
Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.