Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Industrial production up 0.7% in April on strong mining activity

Industrial production up 0.7% in April on strong mining activity

USA industrial production fell short of forecasts last month despite a sharp jump in the output of business equipment.

COLD weather and strong mining activity combined with a solid showing by manufacturing firms to drive a jump in U.S. industrial production in April, the Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday. That marked the third straight month of higher production. Capacity utilization-reflecting how much industries are producing, relative to their potential output-rose 0.4 percentage point last month to 78.0%, the highest level in three years. Capacity utilization for manufacturing fell 0.1 percentage point to 75.8%, a rate that is 2.5 percentage points below its long-run average.

The increase followed a revised 0.7% increase in March, first reported as a 0.5% gain.

US industrial production rose slightly faster than expected in April, a third straight monthly increase that was supported by gains in every major market group.

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Wednesday's report showed factories boosted production 0.5% in April from a month earlier, as American households step up spending and companies boost investment. In the past year, production has increased a modest 1.8 percent.

Utility production rose 1.9% over the month and 6% over the year.

Mining output, lifted by higher oil prices, jumped 1.1 percent. Unusually cold weather in April boosted demand for heating.

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