US industrial production jumps, despite tumbling auto output

Industrial production, the Federal Reserve’s measure of US goods output, was right in line with expectations for the month of March.

Production increased by 0.5%, the exact increase expected by economists. This was an improvement from last month’s flat reading.

Surprisingly, output for manufacturing firms fell 0.4%, much worse than the 0.1% gain expected, due to a steep decrease in auto manufacturing.

“Manufacturing output fell 0.4 per cent in March, led by a large step-down in the production of motor vehicles and parts; factory output aside from motor vehicles and parts moved down 0.2 per cent,” said the Fed’s release.

Additionally, capacity utilization — or the percentage of production capacity being used in the US — rose to 76.1% from last month’s 75.4%, also in line with expectations.

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