Factory output up in February

US Industrial Production Held Steady in February

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

Meanwhile, total industrial production was unchanged in February after edging down by 0.1 percent in January.

By major market groups, final products output was flat versus January (consumer goods: -0.4%, business equipment: 0.7%) while that of non-industrial supplies gained 0.3% and within that output in construction higher by 1.3%.

U.S. factory output increased for a sixth straight month in February, suggesting the manufacturing recovery was gathering speed as rising commodity prices boost demand for machinery and other equipment. The increase in manufacturing last month matched the median forecast in the Bloomberg survey.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.3% rise in output in February.

Factory output was 1.2% ahead year-on-year in February. To put the recent progress in perspective, the year-over-year rate was -0.5 percent just six months ago. Similarly, manufacturing capacity utilization rose from 75.3 percent to 75.6 percent, a 16-month high.

Mining production, which includes oil drilling, increased 2.7 percent, reflecting another solid gain in oil and gas well drilling. Capacity utilization was also lower, down from 75.5 percent to 75.4 percent. The Fed's figures showed well drilling is up 31 percent over the past year. Last month, manufacturing output was boosted by a 0.8 percent rebound in the production of motor vehicle and parts.

Output of materials dipped 0.1%.

Manufacturing output in February was led by fabricated metals, machinery and plastics, paper and rubber production. Computers and electronic products output rose 0.7 percent last month.

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