Manufacturing Output Report Prompts More Talk Of Recovery

Compiled By Jill Jusko Manufacturing output increased 0.3% in February, as well as an upward revised 0.3% in January, according to the figures issued by the Federal Reserve March 15. Overall, industrial production -- which includes mining and utilities, as well as manufacturing -- rose 0.4% after having increased by a revised 0.2% in January. The gains in manufacturing output in February over January were led by increased output of furniture and fixtures (+2.0%); stone, clay and glass products (+2.0%); and primary metals (+1.3%). Sharp declines in February were identified in printing and publishing (-1.2%) and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment (-1.3%). Capacity utilization in manufacturing rose 0.2 percentage points to 73.2%. "American industry is finally beginning to pull out of the worst downturn in two decades," says Jerry Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C. "The ingredients for a rebound are largely in place. However, the international scene, where growth is expected to be weak in 2002 and the overvalued dollar continues to hinder exports, will likely make the 2002 manufacturing turnaround more moderate than the initial states of past recoveries."

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