Washington, DC, United States (4E) – U.S. factory activity jumped less than predicted in September, an indication of stagnation in manufacturing amid the political turmoil in Washington that led to the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Factory output jumped 0.1 percent after a revised 0.5 percent advance in August that was lower than the initial estimate, according to the Federal Reserve report released Monday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.3 percent rise in September.
Total industrial production, which also includes output by mines and utilities, rose 0.6 percent due rising temperatures that spurred electricity consumption.
The latest report also showed lower production levels of non-durable goods like chemicals and textiles, while business equipment and automobile output increased. An expansion in manufacturing activity, which makes up for around 12 percent of the economy, hinges on the revival of business confidence following the standoff in Washington that partially crippled the federal government for 16 days in October.
The Fed data also showed that capacity utilization, a gauge of the amount of a plant in use, jumped to 78.3 percent from 77.9 percent in the previous month.
Mining output, which includes oil drilling, accelerated 0.2 percent after increasing 0.6 percent. Utility production rose 4.4 percent, the highest since March, after a five-month slide.