U.S. industrial production posts biggest gain since 2014
May 17, 2017 by Paul Wiseman The Associated Press
May 17, 2017 – American industry expanded production last month at the fastest pace in more than three years as manufacturers and mines recovered from a March downturn.
The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that industrial production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities shot up 1 per cent in April from March, biggest gain since February 2014 and the third straight monthly gain. The increase was more than twice what economists had expected.
Factory production rose 1 per cent after declining 0.4 per cent in March. Mine production increased 1.2 per cent after falling 0.4 per cent in March. And utility output rose 0.7 per cent after surging 8.2 per cent in March.
Factory production has risen three of four months this year. Manufacturing has recovered from a rough patch in late 2015 and early 2016 caused by cutbacks in the energy industry and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods costlier in foreign markets.
The overall U.S. economy grew at a lacklustre 0.7 per cent annual pace from January through March. But economists expect growth to pick up the rest of the year as consumers ramp up spending.
A healthy job market bolsters consumer confidence. Employers last month added 211,000 jobs and unemployment fell to 4.4 per cent, lowest in a decade.