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Warmer December Hits US Industrial Production

Jan. 16, 2015
Industrial output fell 0.1% month-over-month in December, after a strong 1.3% gain in November.

WASHINGTON - An unusually warm December slowed U.S. energy output, pushing overall industrial production lower, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

Industrial output fell 0.1% month-over-month in December, after a strong 1.3% gain in November.

The December decline reflected a steep 7.3% drop in the output of utilities, "as warmer-than-usual temperatures reduced demand for heating," the central bank said in its monthly report.

Excluding utilities, total industrial production rose 0.7% in December.

Mining production rose 2.2%, largely reflecting increases in oil and gas extraction. Mining output had fallen 0.3 percent in the prior month.

Manufacturing rose for the fourth consecutive month, by 0.3%.

For the fourth quarter, U.S. industrial production climbed at an annual rate of 5.6% in widespread gains.

Year-over-year, industrial output was up a solid 4.9% in December, led by an 11.1% jump in mining.

In the final month of the year, the capacity utilization rate slipped 0.3 percentage point to 79.7%, below the long-run average of 80.1%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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