U.S. Factory Output Falls Most Since August Amid Drop in Autos

  • U.S. Factory Output Falls Most Since August Amid Drop in Autos

Output at U.S. manufacturers fell in March by the most since August as production of automobiles and parts and business equipment declined, Federal Reserve data showed on Tuesday.

Key Points

• Factory production dropped 0.4 percent, following a 0.3 percent rise in February (forecast called for unchanged)

• Total industrial production gained 0.5 percent on a record jump in utility output (forecast called for 0.5 percent rise)

• Capacity utilization, which measures the amount of a plant that is in use, rose to 76.1 percent from 75.7 percent in the prior month (forecast called for 76.1 percent)

Big Picture

The weakness in auto manufacturing mirrors a slowdown in sales to consumers, indicating that a broader recovery in factories remains bumpy, with production rising 0.8 percent last month from a year earlier. The rebound in utility output follows two months of sharp declines amid unusually warm weather and may reflect stronger demand for heating with March temperatures that were a bit more seasonal.

Other Details

• Utility output rose 8.6 percent, the most in data going back to 1939, after a 5.8 percent drop the previous month

• Production of motor vehicles fell 3 percent, the most since last May. Excluding autos and parts, industrial production fell 0.3 percent after a 0.4 percent rise

• Oil and gas well drilling rose 7.7 percent

• Production of non-energy materials fell 0.6 percent after a

0.7 percent gain

• Production of nondurable consumer goods rose 2.1 percent, while output of business equipment decreased 0.4 percent

• Machinery production fell 0.5 percent and output of computers and electronics rose 0.9 percent

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
Samed Olukoya is the CEO/Founder of investorsking.com, a digital business media, with over 10 years' experience as a foreign exchange research analyst and trader. A graduate of University of East London, U.K. and a vivid financial markets analyst.

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