The Federal Reserve reported today that U.S. industrial production declined 0.1% and manufacturing output increased 0.2% for October.
The September manufacturing growth figure was a matching 0.2%; it was revised downward this month from the 0.5% reported last month by the Fed.
The meager growth in manufacturing output was strongly affected by a decline of just above 1% in motor vehicles and parts, which in turn resulted from a decrease in vehicle assemblies, which fell 400,000 units to an annual rate of 11.1 million, according to the Fed's report.
The extended lukewarm results prompted Reuters to speculate that the manufacturing sector's expansion may be starting to run out of gas.
Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, noted that manufacturing production has risen 3.4% since October 2013, indicating modest growth, but that figure too has decelerated in recent months: It peaked at 4.9% in July.
In NAM's Shopfloor blog, Moutray noted that while manufacturers remain upbeat in their economic outlook for the coming months, "it's hard not to be disappointed with activity levels over the past three months.
He said some of the softness may be a result of slower growth globally, "but it is also another reminder that we need to pass pro-growth measures that will buoy domestic demand, as well."