Industrial Production Jumps Sharply Higher in August

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Rio Rancho, N.M. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Industrial production in the United States moved up sharply in August, boosted by a big rise in factory production.

Factory production rose 0.5 percent for the month, according to data released by the Federal Reserve Tuesday. Economists had expected just a 0.1 percent rise after July’s steep 0.4 percent decline. Manufacturing output accounts for around two-thirds of the nation’s total industrial output.

Overall industrial production rose 0.6 percent, beating expectations for a 0.2 percent rise. July’s figure was revised up from a 0.2 percent decline to a 0.1 percent decline.

Industrial production measures activity at factories, mines, and utilities.

Capacity utilization moved up to a respectable 77.9 percent, exceeding expectations for a rise to 77.6 percent compared with July’s 77.5 percent.

The better than expected numbers support the notion that the U.S. economy is sustaining growth despite a rise in trade tensions and global economic sluggishness.  Factory activity has recently contracted in Germany, Japan, South Korea and the U.K. Its growth has slowed sharply in China.

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in decade at the end of July, possibly helping boost industrial production. It is widely expected to cut rates again at the end of its two-day meeting concluding Wednesday.

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