Factory production rises 0.2% in June
WASHINGTON — U.S. factory production increased in 0.2 percent in June in line with analysts’ forecasts, as demand for natural resources, automobiles and machinery rebounded, Federal Reserve data showed Friday.
The nation’s industrial production has strengthened for five-straight months amid robust domestic demand and stronger growth abroad. That’s the longest stretch of improvement since 2014.
The report showed manufacturing posted a modest gain, in line with a gradual improvement that’s been slowed by weak output of motor vehicles, business equipment and construction supplies. Mining companies, in particular, have shown healthy advances for the past three months, and utilities have stabilized after a weak start to the year. Capacity utilization reached the highest level since August 2015.
A big focus of the report has been auto production, a bright spot in the economy’s expansion in recent years. After weakening in three of the first five months of the year, auto output edged up last month, the report showed.