US dollar index surged to near three and half month highs of 91.60 levels today as traders eyed the upbeat US economic data. Following a jump in orders for transportation equipment, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected increase in new orders for US manufactured durable goods in the month of March. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders surged up by 2.6% in March after spiking by an upwardly revised 3.5% in February. The increase in durable goods orders came as orders for transportation equipment shot up by 7.6% in March following an 8.9% jump in February. Orders for non-defense aircraft and parts showed another substantial increase, soaring by 44.5% in March after rising by 39.1% in the previous month. First-time claims for US unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in nearly five decades in the week ended April 21st, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 209,000. Further supporting the dollar were the latest comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. Eurozone growth momentum has softened since the start of the year, but is expected to remain solid and broad-based, Draghi said Thursday. The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook remain broadly balanced, he noted.