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US industrial output up on utiliites


by Elaine Frei
March 17, 2006

According to new data released on Friday by the US Federal Reserve, industrial output in the United States was up 0.7 percent in February, around the amount of increase that had been expected by analysts. The new figures also showed that capacity utilization, the amount of capacity in use by mines, utilities, and factories, was up to 81.2 percent, just below the 81.3 percent level predicted.

While manufacturing output was unchanged in the month, and mining output was 0.5 percent lower, production by utilities was up by 7.9 percent in February, up substantially from January when utility output had fallen by 11.5 percent. The increase in utilities output reflected a turn to colder weather after a relatively mild early winter in the United States.

Utilities also drove capacity utilization. Manufacturing capacity utilization was down to 80.4 percent in February, but was still 0.6 percent above the average usage from 1972 - 2005. In all sectors, capacity utilization was also slightly above the 1972 - 2005 average, which was 81 percent.



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