News Column

Winter Put a Chill on Factory Output in January

February 14, 2014

UPI Business News

industrial output
Industrial production slowed in January (file photo)

U.S. industrial production slipped in January after five consecutive months of gains, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

Production dropped 0.3 percent, the Fed said, with a strong gain at utility companies offset by a 0.8 percent decline in manufacturing output, a figure that demonstrates the fragility of the economic recovery.

The Fed said the extended winter chill was a dominant factor in the month, keeping manufacturing on its heels and pushing demand for heat-providing utility companies.

Utilities kept busy with output up 4.1 percent in the month.

Production at U.S. mines, also affected by weather, declined 0.9 percent in January after rising 1.8 percent in a milder December.

The Fed said total production in the month was 2.9 percent higher than January 2013. The capacity utilization rate -- a measure of how busy industries are compared to businesses going full bore -- was 78.5 percent in January, 1.6 percentage points below the long range average, which includes data from 1972 to 2013.

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Original headline: Winter put a chill on industrial production in January


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