U.S. factory production increased in June in line with analysts’ forecasts, as demand for natural resources, automobiles and machinery rebounded, Federal Reserve data showed Friday.
Factory output was up 0.2% (est. 0.2% gain) after falling 0.4%.
Total industrial production, which also includes mines and utilities, increased 0.4% (est. 0.3% gain) after revised 0.1% advance.
Capacity utilization, measuring the amount of a plant that is in use, climbed to 76.6% (est. 76.8%) from 76.4%.
The nation’s industrial production has strengthened for five straight months amid robust domestic demand and stronger growth abroad. That’s the longest stretch of improvement since 2014.
The report showed manufacturing posted a modest gain, in line with a gradual improvement that’s been slowed by weak output of motor vehicles, business equipment and construction supplies. Mining companies, in particular, have shown healthy advances for the past three months, and utilities have stabilized after a weak start to the year. Capacity utilization reached the highest level since August 2015.
A big focus of the report has been auto production, a bright spot in the economy’s expansion in recent years. After weakening in three of the first five months of the year, auto output edged up last month, the report showed.
- Utility output was unchanged after rising 0.8% the prior month.
- Production of motor vehicles rebounded 0.7%; excluding autos and parts, manufacturing output rose 0.1%.
- Mining production gained 1.6%, the third straight month of increases; oil and gas well-drilling jumped 6.8%.
- Production of consumer goods was unchanged, and output of business equipment edged up 0.1%.
- Machinery production gained 0.6%.
By Patricia Laya