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Automaker Rebound Boosts US Industrial Production in March

April 18, 2022
Total industrial production increased by just under one percentage point.

U.S. industrial production climbed in March as automakers shifted into gear despite the ongoing semiconductor shortage, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

Industrial production climbed 0.9% last month, the Fed said, more than expected and pushing the metric of industry output to an annualized rate of 8.1% for the first quarter.

Motor vehicles and parts production jumped 7.8% and fueled a 0.9% gain in overall manufacturing, while other factories saw production rise 0.4%, the data said.

American automakers have struggled to keep production going as the supply of the computer chips vital to today's motor vehicles runs short.

Mining output gained 1.7%, mostly due to increased oil and gas production, while utilities rose 0.4% as electricity usage increased but natural gas demand fell.

Consumers are generally shifting to buy more services than goods, Oren Klachkin of Oxford Economics said, but "there are still plenty of goods orders that need to be fulfilled" and industrial production will likely see gains in the months to come.

"However, nagging supply chain issues, rising interest rates, and hot inflation readings will continue to pose some constraints," he said in an analysis.

Copyright 2022, Agence France-Presse

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