On the back of increased activity in manufacturing, utilities and mining, U.S. industrial production jumped higher than expected in January, the Federal Reserve said on Feb. 17.
The 0.9% rise in the first month of the year followed a revised gain of 0.7% in December and is the seventh consecutive rise in output. It was also higher than the 0.7% expected by most analysts.
Manufacturing production rose 1% in January, with increases for most of its major components, while the indexes for both utilities and mining advanced 0.7%.
"In today's report showing a rise in industrial production, manufacturing led the way with solid gains across the board," said Thomas J. Duesterberg, CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "The inventory cycle is now working strongly in favor of production growth, as stocks of basic goods like primary metals (up 21% over January 2009 levels), chemicals (up 9.1% over last January) and even paper (up 6% over last January) are being rebuilt. Another strong area was autos, as increased sales led to a 4.9% rise over December 2009 levels and 40% growth over last January's depressed levels.
"Improving exports as well as growing domestic demand are also helping manufacturers, especially in areas like chemicals, machinery and information and communications equipment," he added. "The growth in exports and the inventory swing should sustain the solid performance in manufacturing throughout the first half of 2010."