By John S. McClenahen U.S. factory output increased 0.7% in October, its largest advance since July, the Federal Reserve reported on Nov. 17. Total industrial production, which includes mining and utilities as well as manufacturing, also rose 0.7% as the output of the nation's mines and utilities each rose 0.7%. "Part of the increase in production appears to reflect a partial bounce back from the restraining effects of recent hurricanes, although the exact magnitude of the contribution is difficult to estimate," the Fed said. The 0.7% in manufacturing output was a product of a 1% increase in durables, a 0.4% increase in nondurables and a 0.6% increase in logging and publishing. "The manufacturing recovery continues to build broad momentum, evidenced by the fact that 16 out of 19 manufacturing sectors increased production last month," said John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C. Capacity utilization also rose, moving in manufacturing to 76.8% in October from 76.4% in September. Meanwhile, the closely watched housing sector of the economy stayed strong in October. Starts for new homes were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.027 million last month, 6.4% higher than September's revised rate of 1.905 million, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported on Nov. 17. Single-family housing starts were at a rate of 1.645 million on October. Starts for buildings with five or more units were at a 338,000 rate.