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U.S. Industrial Production Fell 0.6% in September

U.S. industrial production fell in September, snapping four months of growth, in another sign of a slowing recovery.

The Federal Reserve on Friday said its index of industrial production — a measure of output at factories, mines and utilities — fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September, following an unrevised 0.4% rise in August.

Output remains 7.1% below where it was in February, before the pandemic hit, the Fed said.

The decline in industrial production shows “a concern that the industrial recovery appears to be stalling with output well below its pre pandemic level,” Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. A recent increase in new coronavirus cases raises the possibility that factories could shut down once more, he said.

Industrial production fell at a record pace in the spring as factories were closed to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The Fed’s index plunged in March and April, rebounded in June and July and has stalled since.

Manufacturing, the biggest component of production, fell 0.3%, after rising 1.2% in August.

Utility production fell 5.6% due to a decline in air conditioning use, the Fed said. Mining output rose 1.7%.

Capacity utilization, a measure of slack in the industrial economy, fell to 71.5% in September from a revised 72% in August. Economists had expected capacity utilization to reach 71.8% in September.
Source: Dow Jones

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