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Friday, March 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (AFP) – U.S. industrial production picked up in June after flat-lining in May, helped by improved manufacturing output and a jump in mining, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

The production of the nation’s manufacturers, mines and utilities rose 0.3 percent in June, in line with analyst expectations.

Manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent, following a 0.2 percent increase in May.

The factory gains were due to a 0.5 percent rise in the production of durable goods, including increases of more than 1 percent in the production of machinery and motor vehicles and parts, the central bank said.

There was no change in the production of non-durable goods.

Quarterly data highlighted the sector’s struggles in a lackluster economy. Manufacturing output fell at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the second quarter, after expanding at a 5.1 percent pace in the first quarter.

Though manufacturer factory capacity utilization inched up to 76.1 percent in June, the reading was 2.6 percentage points below its long-run average.

Mining was a bright spot, with production at mines jumping 0.8 percent in June, double the rise in May.

The output of utilities slipped 0.1 percent, the third month in a row of decline.

Year-on-year, industrial output was up 2.0 percent in June and 0.6 percent in the second quarter.

“The trend in production remains positive, but is lackluster,” said Chris Low of FTN Financial.

“Still, faster production growth at the end of the quarter is encouraging. A modest improvement in Q3 is likely,” he said.

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