U.S. Industrial Production Up 0.1%; Hurt By Katrina

Despite Hurricane Katrina's impact on several industries, U.S. industrial production rose a modest 0.1% in August, the Federal Reserve reported Sept. 14. Analysts had expected the report, measuring the output of U.S. factories, mines and utilities, to show a 0.3% increase.

But the central bank said Katrina's devastation on the Gulf Coast took away about 0.3 percentage points from output, mainly in the areas of oil and gas production and the refining and petrochemical industries. The hurricane contributed to a drop of 1.1% in the production of chemicals and a drop of 0.9% in the output of petroleum and coal products.

Capacity utilization -- a key indicator of slack in the industrial economy -- remained steady at 79.8% in August, after being revised up slightly in the previous month.

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Industrial production overall is up 3.1% in the past 12 months. Manufacturing output climbed 0.3% in August.

Motor vehicle production rose 3.7% after falling 1.9% in July. Output of utilities fell 0.5% and mining fell 0.6% in the month.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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