U.S. manufacturing output grew in December, the second consecutive monthly gain and the latest sign that U.S. factories are emerging from the slump that took hold in the second half of 2018.
Manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent in December, the Federal Reserve said Friday. Excluding autos and auto parts, which saw a 4.6 percent contraction, factory production rose 0.5 percent.
Despite the December gain, factory output fell 1 percent in the fourth quarter, highlighting the sector’s troubles.
Mining output rose 1.3 percent, with most of the gain from oil and gas extraction.
The manufacturing gains were offset by a 5.6 percent decline in utilities ouput due to the unseasonably warm December. The warm weather that sapped demand for heating likely spurred homebuilding, indicating how weather can have varied and unpredictable effects on the economy.
Overall industrial production, fell by three-tenths of a percentage point. This includes factory, mining, and utilities output. That was in line with what economists expected.