Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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GM strike pushes industrial production down 0.8% last month


November 15, 2019
By Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press

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A strike at General Motors pushed U.S. manufacturing production lower in October, adding to the troubles confronting American industry.

Manufacturing output tumbled 0.6 per cent last month, the Federal Reserve said Friday, largely because production of cars and auto parts plunged 7.1 cent amid the GM strike. The drop in factory production was the biggest since April. The GM strike ended late in October.

Overall industrial production — which includes factories, utilities and mines — fell 0.8 per cent, the biggest drop since May 2018. Industrial output is down 1.1 per cent from October 2018.

The drops were bigger than economists had expected.

American manufacturing is also contending with the fallout from President Donald Trump’s trade wars, which have raised costs for some factories and created uncertainty for business.

Excluding auto output, industrial production still fell 0.5 per cent and manufacturing output slipped 0.1 per cent.

Mining production slid 0.7 per cent, as oil and gas drilling fell last month, but is up 2.7 per cent over the past year. Utility production fell 2.6 per cent as Americans used less electricity.

U.S. factories were using 74.7 per cent of their capacity in October, the lowest since September 2017, and down 4.1 per cent since October 2018.