Surges in Manufacturing Output Mining Boost US Industrial Production

Surges in Manufacturing Output, Mining Boost US Industrial Production

"The trend in production remains positive, but is lackluster," said Chris Low of FTN Financial. "Still, faster production growth at the end of the quarter is encouraging. A modest improvement in Q3 is likely."

WASHINGTON—U.S. industrial production picked up in June after flat-lining in May, helped by improved manufacturing output and a jump in mining, the Federal Reserve reported today.

The production of the nation's manufacturers, mines and utilities rose 0.3% in June, in line with analyst expectations.

Manufacturing output rose 0.3%, following a 0.2% increase in May.

The factory gains were due to a 0.5% rise in the production of durable goods, including increases of more than 1% in the production of machinery and motor vehicles and parts, the central bank said.

There was no change in the production of nondurable goods.

Quarterly data highlighted the sector's struggles in a lackluster economy. Manufacturing output fell at an annual rate of 0.2% in the second quarter, after expanding at a 5.1% pace in the first quarter.

Though manufacturer factory capacity utilization inched up to 76.1% in June, the reading was 2.6 percentage points below its long-run average.

Mine Production Jumps 0.8%

Mining was a bright spot, with production at mines jumping 0.8% in June, double the rise in May.

The output of utilities slipped 0.1%, the third month in a row of decline.

Year-on-year, industrial output was up 2.0% in June and 0.6% in the second quarter.

"The trend in production remains positive, but is lackluster," said Chris Low of FTN Financial. "Still, faster production growth at the end of the quarter is encouraging. A modest improvement in Q3 is likely."

Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, noted that eight of the 20 main manufacturing segments declined while 12 segments posted growth, and that the recent production slowdown is a result of overall slow economic growth.

"Clearly, manufacturing production growth significantly outpaced overall economic growth early this year and has recently been correcting to the relatively slow pace of growth in the overall economy," Meckstroth said. "Manufacturing should grow faster than GDP again in 2013, but the growth premium is narrowed by sluggish domestic demand and lackluster export opportunities."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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