By BridgeNews Following in the footsteps of the worst manufacturing data in nearly a decade reported earlier this month, December's U.S. industrial production dropped 0.6%, below expectations of a 0.4% decrease. It marks the third consecutive month of decline, a negative quarterly reading that was last seen in the January-March quarter of 1991. The U.S. capacity utilization rate fell to 80.6%, below forecasts of 81.0% and November's revised rate of 81.4%. In releasing the latest data, the Federal Reserve said the 1.1% decline in manufacturing reflected "cutbacks in many industries." On a year-on-year basis, production was up 3.1%, the Fed said.