Industrial Production Flat In March

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — Industrial production was flat in March for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Federal Reserve said Monday.

Production in manufacturing, mining and utilities last moved in January when it was up 0.4 percent compared to December.

For the first quarter of 2012, production was up 5.4 percent on an annual basis.

In the most recent month, manufacturing output fell 0.2 percent — although manufacturing rose 10.4 percent on an annual basis from January through March.

Manufacturing gains were “broadly based,” the Fed said. Even excluding automobiles, which climbed at an annual rate of 40 percent, manufacturing rose by 8.3 percent on an annual basis in the first quarter.

Production at mines rose 0.2 percent in March while output at utilities rose 1.5 percent.

For the first quarter, however, output at utilities fell 13.8 percent on an annual basis, largely due to an unseasonably warm winter.

Capacity utilization — measuring production as a percentage of manufacturing, mining and utilities operating at full steam — dropped to 78.6 percent from 78.7 percent in February.

Capacity utilization in March was 1.7 percentage points below its long-term average, the Fed said.

 

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