Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Industrial production stays still as manufacturing rises

Industrial production stays still as manufacturing rises

Output at US manufacturers rose in February for a sixth consecutive month, underscoring a sustained rebound in the industry.

Industrial production-a measure of output at factories, mines and utilities-was unchanged from a month earlier, the Federal Reserve said Friday. Output in the sector was up 0.5 percent in February, mirroring the gain seen in January. For the sixth consecutive month, output at US manufacturers rose 0.5%.

The increase in manufacturing last month matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Economists had expected production to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.3 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

Industrial capacity use ran at 75.4% in February, down by a tenth of a percentage point on the previous month and up by six tenths in comparison to a year ago.

Factory output was 1.2% ahead year-on-year in February.

Meanwhile, mining output increased 2.7 per cent, and was 1.8 per cent higher than February 2016. The prior month was revised up from an initially reported 0.2 percent increase.

Capacity utilization in the utilities sector plunged to 70.9 percent, while capacity utilization in the mining and manufacturing sectors rose to 80.5 percent and 75.6 percent, respectively. The Fed's figures showed well drilling is up 31 percent over the past year.

Output of business equipment rose 0.7%, while output of construction equipment rose 1.3%.

Gains in manufacturing were led by increases in the production of nonmetallic mineral products, fabricated metal products and machinery of over 1% in each case. Last month, manufacturing output was boosted by a 0.8 percent rebound in the production of motor vehicle and parts. Industrial output has been in an up-and-down pattern since last fall.

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