U.S. Factory Output Falls As Auto Manufacturing Plunges

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Getty Images/ Narongrit Sritana

Manufacturing production in the U.S. dropped in March even as overall industrial production picked up thanks to cold temperatures driving up output by utilities.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that industrial production rose by 0.4 percent and capacity utilization climbed to 79.8 percent. The prior month’s figure industrial production estimate was revised up to a 0.3 percent gain from the earlier estimated increase of 0.2 percent. Capacity utilization was revised up to 79.6 percent from 78 percent.

Industrial production was up at a 0.2 percent rate in the first quarter after a steep 2.5 percent decline in the final three months of 2002.
Utilities production jumped by a sharp 8.4 percent thanks to colder weather. It is up 4.2 percent compared with March of 2022.

Manufacturing production fell 0.5 percent after climbing 0.6 percent in the previous month. Compared with March of last year, manufacturing production is down 1.1 percent.

Business equipment production tumbled one percent in March, the second consecutive monthly contraction in a category considered to be a bellwether for business investment.

The indexes for durable manufacturing fell by 0.9 percent, with most categories of durable goods declining, and nondurable manufacturing moved down 0.1 percent in Marc. The gauge for “other manufacturing”—whch includes publishing and logging—fell 0.7 percent.

The index for construction production fell 1.8 percent after falling 0.1 percent in February. Compared with a year ago, construction production is down 2.7 percent.

Consumer goods production rose 0.9 percent, driven by nondurable consumer goods. Production of durable consumer goods fell 0.9 percent.

Mining production, which includes energy extraction, fell for the second consecutive month, declining by 0.5 percent after the previous month’s one percent drop. \

Output of motor vehicles fell 1.5 percent in March after rising for the past two months.


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