Industrial Production in U.S. Rises 0.6% on Autos, Utilities [View all]
By Michelle Jamrisko - Aug 15, 2012 10:26 AM ET
Industrial production in the U.S. increased in July, propelled by a pickup in motor vehicle output and a rebound in utility use during the hottest month on record.
The 0.6 percent increase last month at factories, mines and utilities followed a revised 0.1 percent gain in June that was smaller than previously reported, Federal Reserve data showed today in Washington. Economists forecast a 0.5 percent rise, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Manufacturing, which makes up about 75 percent of total production, rose 0.5 percent for a second month.
The pickup in industrial production, the most in three months, may ease concerns that the industry is faltering. At the same time, recessions in parts of Europe, a building of inventories and the prospect of fiscal tightening in the U.S. are hurdles for American factories.
“The auto industry is probably responding to something they didn’t expect when the year started, and that was a pretty impressive bounce-back in demand,” said David Resler, chief economic adviser at Nomura Securities International Inc., who correctly forecast the gain. Still, “there’s nothing in the indicators we’ve seen recently that suggests growth in the next year or so is going to be noticeably different” from the average pace of the expansion, he said.