Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Industrial production in the U.S. climbed in March, an indication that the economy is emerging from the slowdown during the winter months.
Industrial production, a gauge of the output in U.S. manufacturing, mining and electric and gas utilities, rose to a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in March from the previous month, according to the Federal Reserve report released Wednesday. Capacity utilization, a measure of slack across industries, gained 0.4 percentage point to a pace of 79.2 percent.
Industrial production and capacity utilization figures were higher than anticipated. In a survey by The Wall Street Journal, economists forecast an increase of 0.4 percent in industrial production and 78.7 percent in utilization rate.
Manufacturing output, which accounts for the biggest component of industrial production, inched up 0.5 percent in March, compared with a gain of 1.4 percent in the previous month. In the first three months of the year, industrial production rose 4.4 percent on year, which is slightly lower from the previous quarter, according to the Federal Reserve.
If demand does not increase in the coming months, the high level of inventories of manufactured goods could slow production. In a separate report by the Commerce Department, factory stockpiles in February increased from the earlier year.
Production of long-lasting goods, which include items from appliances and furniture, helped the gain in manufacturing. Last month, motor vehicles and parts production fell 0.8 percent.