Trade, which has been constrained by a strong dollar and weak global demand, subtracted just over one tenth of a percentage point from gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter.
In February, exports of goods rose 1.6 percent to $118.6 billion, increasing for the first time since September. Overall exports of goods and services advanced 1.0 percent to $178.1 billion.
Exports have been undercut by the buoyant dollar, which has made U.S.-manufactured goods expensive relative to those of its main trading partners. Slowing growth in Europe and China has also eroded demand for U.S. goods.
But with the dollar rally fading, February’s nascent increase in exports is likely to be sustained.
A survey last week showed a gauge of new export orders received by manufacturers rose in March to its highest level since December 2014.
The dollar is down 1.3 percent on a trade-weighted basis so far this year after gaining about 20 percent against the currencies of the United States’ main trading partners between June 2014 and December 2015.
In February, there were increases in exports of food, automobiles and parts, as well as consumer goods.