Industrial production increased 0.6 percent in December on the strength of output from gas and electric utilities coping with unseasonably cold weather in much of the nation. The nation’s industrial capacity overall remained 72 percent below its average level of utilization after a 0.5 percentage point increase, according to a report released Friday by the Federal Reserve Board.
The output of utilities jumped 5.9 percent in December, and the operating rate for utilities rose 4.5 percentage points to 82.9 percent. The output of natural gas utilities increased 12.2 percent, and the output of electric utilities rose 4.7 percent, said the Fed.
For mining, output increased 0.2 percent in December, and capacity utilization edged up to 85.7 percent, a rate 1.9 percentage points below its average for the period from 1972 to 2008. For the fourth quarter as a whole, said the Fed, the index for mining rose at an annual rate of 7.5 percent.
However, manufacturing production declined 0.1 percent in December, as the output of paper, petroleum and coal products slid significantly. Manufacturing output had gained 0.9 percent in November, and output for the fourth quarter was up at an annual rate of 5.7 percent. Capacity utilization for manufacturing was 68.6 percent in December, a rate 11 percentage points below its average for the period from 1972 to 2008.
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