U.S. industrial production falls short of forecasts in March


COLD weather and strong mining activity combined with a solid showing by manufacturing firms to drive a jump in United States industrial production in April, the Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday.

US industries pumped out more goods in April to meet growing demand from consumers and businesses, another sign the economy is gaining momentum. That marked the third straight month of higher production.

The economy's industrial segment is firming but not to the extent that inflation seems about to surge, according to one closely watched measure of industrial slack. Capacity utilization rose to 78.0% in April, the highest level in three years. Production increased broadly across all sectors and has risen 3.5% over the past year.

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Economists polled by IFR Markets projected a 0.6% increase for industrial production and a 78.4% capacity utilization rate. In the past year, production has increased a modest 1.8 percent.

Wednesday's report showed factories boosted production 0.5% in April from a month earlier, as American households step up spending and companies boost investment.

Mining output rose 1.1 per cent, and was 10.6 per cent higher than the same month of 2017, fuelled by gains in oil and gas extraction, which offset the decline in coal mining. Production of durable goods decreased 0.5%, while nondurable goods production rose 1.5%. Unusually cold weather in April boosted demand for heating.