U.S. Industrial Output Up

Manufacturing output climbed 0.9%

Buoyed by a bustling manufacturing sector, U.S. industrial production rose to a nine-month high in May, the Federal Reserve said on June 16.

Industrial production advanced 1.2% after having risen 0.7% in April, the central bank said. It was the largest increase since August 2009 and higher than the 0.8% rise expected by most economists.

Manufacturing output climbed 0.9% last month, its third consecutive monthly gain of about one percent.

Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines edged down 0.2%, and that of utilities increased 4.8%.

"Todays industrial production report confirms earlier indicators from the purchasing managers index and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report on manufacturing employment; all three indicators point to strong growth in physical output last month," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, Chief Economist of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "Fifteen of the 20 major manufacturing industries experienced growth last month. Furthermore, many of the industries that posted the strongest gains were some of those severely hurt by the recession that ended in June 2009, for example, steel, motor vehicles, wood products, and machinery industries.

"While an inventory swing from destocking to restocking is certainly a key driver in the industrial rebound, the breadth of the rebound is impressive and creates self-reinforcing demand for materials and equipment across the whole manufacturing sector," he added. "Manufacturing unit labor costs are declining, thanks to rapid productivity gains in the manufacturing sector, which bodes well for industrial competitiveness in the export market. We expect sustained growth this year and next but the pace of growth should decelerate."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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