U.S. Industrial Production Rebounds Less Than Expected In March

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After reporting a sharp pullback in U.S. industrial production in the previous month, the Federal Reserve released a report on Thursday showing production rebounded in the month of March.

The Fed said industrial production jumped by 1.4 percent in March after plunging by a downwardly revised 2.6 percent in February.

The rebound fell short of expectations, however, as economists had expected production to spike by 2.8 percent compared to the 2.2 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

"Industrial output did recover following weather-related disruptions in February, but the scale of the bounce-back was a little disappointing," said James Knightley, Chief International Economist at ING.

He added, "A significant proportion of this can be blamed on semiconductor shortages, but as this situation improves, the manufacturing sectors looks set to roar back strongly."

The increase in industrial production came as manufacturing output surged up by 2.7 percent in March after tumbling by 3.7 percent in February, while mining output soared by 5.7 percent after plummeting by 5.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the report showed an 11.4 percent nosedive in utilities output in March following a 9.2 percent spike in February, as the demand for heating fell because of a swing in temperatures.

The Fed also said capacity utilization for the industrial sector rose to 74.4 percent in March from a downwardly revised 73.4 in February.

Economists had expected capacity utilization to climb to 75.7 percent from the 73.8 percent originally reported for the previous month.

Capacity utilization in the manufacturing and mining sectors increased to 73.8 percent and 82.2 percent, respectively, while capacity utilization in the utilities sector slid to 68.8 percent.

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