U.S. industrial production fell 0.1 percent in January as a weather-related decline in utility output offset a continued upswing in manufacturing, the Federal Reserve said.
Manufacturing output expanded 0.3 percent after an upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain in December, continuing a series of consecutive gains that began in September.
January’s overall 0.1 percent decrease in industrial production compared with an upwardly revised 1.2 percent increase in December, when utility production jumped 4.1 percent in response to cold weather.
Median forecasts of economists surveyed by Reuters and Bloomberg had projected total industrial production would rise 0.5 percent in January.
Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight, said the report showed positive trends.
“The top-level decline in industrial output is just a head fake generated by a sharp contraction in utility output together with a modest contraction in mining output,” Bethune said in a commentary. “Leading indicators on the manufacturing sector continue to be very positive, indicating that further gains in output are in the pipeline in the next few months. Growth in export orders has picked up.”
Motor vehicle production rose 3.2 percent, manufacturing 1.3 percent and computers 0.9 percent from December levels.
Capacity utilization slipped to 76.1 percent from an upwardly revised 76.2 percent in December.
-- Contact Joseph Bonney at firstname.lastname@example.org.