Manufacturing Posts July Gain After June Loss

By John S. McClenahen Output of U.S. factories grew by six-tenths of a percentage point in July following a two-tenth of a percentage point loss in June, the Federal Reserve reported on Aug. 17. Overall U.S. industrial production, which includes mining and utilities in addition to manufacturing, advanced four-tenths of a percentage point in July, nearly a full percentage point turnaround from its five-tenths percentage point loss in June. U.S. industrial production now stands at 116.2 (1997=100). "The July surge in industrial production . . . confirms my assessment that [June's] retreat was a temporary breather in an otherwise strong growth curve," says Jerry J. Jasinowski, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers. U.S. factories operated at 76.3% of capacity last month, up from 75.9% in June and their highest level since May 2001.

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