With decreases in manufacturing and mining output more than offsetting a substantial rebound by utilities output, the Federal Reserve released a report on Friday showing that U.S. industrial production unexpectedly decreased in the month of January.
The report said industrial production edged down by 0.1 percent in January following a revised 0.4 percent increase in December. Economists had expected production to increase by 0.3 percent, matching the growth originally reported for the previous month.
The unexpected drop in production in January was partly due to a 0.4 percent decrease in manufacturing output, which followed upwardly revised gains of 1.1 percent in December and 1.7 percent in November.
Production of motor vehicles and parts fell by 3.2 percent after surging higher in the two previous months, contributing to the pullback by manufacturing output.
The report showed that mining output also fell by 1.0 percent in January after coming in essentially unchanged in December.
On the other hand, the Federal Reserve said utilities output surged up by 3.5 percent in January after tumbling by 4.5 percent in December.
The central bank said the rebound by utilities output came as demand for heating was boosted by temperatures that fell closer to their seasonal norms.
Meanwhile, the report also showed that the capacity utilization rate edged down to 79.1 percent in January from an upwardly revised 79.3 percent in December.
Economists had expected the capacity utilization rate to inch up to 78.9 percent from the 78.8 percent originally reported for the previous month.
Capacity utilization in the manufacturing and mining sectors fell to 77.6 percent and 90.8 percent, respectively, while capacity utilization in the utilities sector climbed to 74.8 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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