United States factory output down in May, hurt by oil refining cuts
A decline in refining oil caused U.S. factory output to slip in May, overshadowing solid gains by automakers.
The Federal Reserve said Monday that manufacturing output declined 0.2 percent last month, as productivity has basically been flat since January. Manufacturing has been hurt the stronger dollar, higher oil prices reducing equipment orders and activity at refiners, and previously by cold winter weather at the start of the year.
Overall industrial production — which also includes utilities and mining — fell 0.2 percent in May. Mining activity that covers oil and natural gas drilling tumbled for the fifth straight month, while output at utilities increased slightly.
In the manufacturing category, fossil fuel refining and chemical production dropped last month, as did the food, beverage and tobacco sector.
But in a sign of consumer strength, auto production rose 1.7 percent.
The third consecutive monthly improvement at auto plants is among the signs of a broader factory comeback. Other reports indicate that an industrial resurgence could help propel stronger growth through the rest of 2015.