U.S. Factory Production Falls by Most Since 2009

U.S. Factory Production Falls by Most Since 2009 (Bloomberg)

Factory production in the United States unexpectedly declined in January by the most since May 2009, with severe winter weather likely playing a role in holding back the economy. The 0.8 percent decrease by manufacturers followed a revised 0.3 percent gain the prior month that was weaker than initially reported, the Federal Reserve reported today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.1 percent advance. Total industrial production dropped 0.3 percent, even as utility output climbed the most in almost a year. Assembly lines slowed last month as colder weather curbed production, the Fed reported. The weakness is a clear pause in a key industry that has helped to boost the U.S. economy. A pickup in capital spending and faster hiring would help to spur production gains.