Even though industrial production was unchanged in February, after having risen 0.4% in January, manufacturing output moved up 0.3%, the Federal Reserve reported on March 16.
The Federal Reserve also increased the estimate of January's manufacturing production gain.
" "Rather than increasing 0.7%, the Fed now says that January manufacturing production increased 1.1%,"said Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).
Over the three months ending in February 2012, manufacturing production was 4.8% above the same period one year ago and posted a 9.9% annual rate of growth compared to the previous three-month period. This is clearly stellar growth."
However, this month production growth was not driven by gains in motor vehicle as that area fell 1.1%. "The growth was not in vehicles, energy, or high-tech but rather in relatively widespread gains in consumer goods, equipment, supplies and materials, " added Meckstroth.
Thirteen of the 20 major manufacturing industries grew during the month.
"Manufacturing production is forecast to increase 4% in 2012, almost double the growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP," Meckstroth said. "The production drivers are pent-up demand for motor vehicles, business equipment, energy investments, exports of infrastructure equipment to emerging economies, and the rebound in private construction activity."