U.S. industrial production up 1.0% in July

08:31, August 18, 2010      

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U.S. industrial production edged up 1.0 percent in July, helped by a sharp surge in auto output, the Federal Reserve reported on Tuesday.

The July rise in industrial production -- an indicator of the output of mines, factories and utilities -- followed a revised decline of 0.1 percent in the previous month.

Manufacturing output, the largest component of the overall industrial production, moved up 1.1 percent last month, driven by a nearly 10-percent rise in the production of motor vehicles and parts. That is because auto factories kept operating when they normally stay closed for summer renovations.

The output of mines rose 0.9 percent, and utilities output increased 0.1 percent.

The report also showed that overall industrial capacity utilization -- a key measure of slack in the industrial economy -- moved up to 74.8 percent in July, 5.7 percentage points above the rate from a year earlier but 5.8 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009.

Economists said the strong momentum in the manufacturing sector in July was unsustainable, as it was primarily propped up by an above-normal level of auto production. They expected the industry to expand at a slower pace in the coming quarters, and provide less support for the economic recovery.

Manufacturing industry has shown strong performance since the U. S. economy began to recover from the recession in the second half of last year. Since the beginning of this year, the sector has added 183,000 jobs -- the strongest seven months of manufacturing job growth in more than a decade.



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