(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) U.S. industrial production posted its fastest growth in more than a year in April, helped by surging output at utilities and a rebound in manufacturing led by a jump in auto production, the Federal Reserve (Fed) reported Wednesday.
Industrial production at U.S. factories, mines, and utilities grew 1.1 percent last month, the most since December 2010 and nearly twice the pace expected by economists. Industrial output shrank 0.6 percent in March and expanded 0.4 percent in February.
In April, manufacturing output rose 0.6 percent, rebounding from a 0.5 percent decline the previous month. Half of the increase reflected a 3.9 percent jump in the production of motor vehicles and parts. Excluding the auto sector, manufacturing increased 0.3 percent.
Manufacturing output has risen 18.3 percent since it hit a low in June 2009, the month the recession ended.
Utilities output increased 4.5 percent in April, as unusually warm weather in the first quarter previously had reduced demand for heating, the Fed said. Output at mines also showed a strong gain.
Capacity utilization, a measure of how fully companies are using their resources, rose to 79.2 percent, the highest since April 2008. Fed officials watch utilization measures as a signal of how much ‚"slack‚ remains in the economy, or how far growth has room to expand before it becomes inflationary.