Industry unexpectedly put the brakes on in September, marking the first drop in output since the economic recovery began in July 2009, official data showed on Oct. 18.
Production fell 0.2% in September, wiping out a 0.2% gain in August, according to the Federal Reserve's monthly report.
The decline surprised most analysts, whose consensus forecast was for another rise of 0.2%.
"The modest decline in industrial production in September was led by a slowdown in manufacturing from the strong pace of the last year," said Thomas J. Duesterberg, CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "The inventory swing that boosted production earlier in the recovery is giving way to more final demand-driven production schedules. Consumer related manufactured goods led the decline in September, while weak computer sales and a sluggish aerospace sector dampened demand for capital goods. Clearly the U. S. industrial economy is slowing and is in need of stronger demand from consumers and from more robust global business investment in capital goods."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010 , IW Staff