Industrial production in the U.S. increased by more than expected in the month of March, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve on Friday.
The Fed said industrial production climbed by 0.4 percent in March after edging up by a revised 0.2 percent in February.
Economists had expected industrial production to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.
The bigger than expected increase in industrial production came as utilities output spiked by 8.4 percent in March after falling by 0.7 percent in February, as the return to more seasonal weather after a mild February boosted the demand for heating.
Meanwhile, the report showed manufacturing output fell by 0.5 percent in March after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.6 percent in February.
The Fed said mining output also slid by 0.5 percent in March following a 1.0 percent slump in the previous month.
“Industrial production rose more than either we or the consensus anticipated in March but this doesn’t warrant any change to the baseline forecast as the strength was concentrated utilities, which is extremely sensitive to fluctuations in weather,” said Ryan Sweet, Chief U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
The report also said capacity utilization in the industrial sector edged up to 79.8 percent in March from an upwardly revised 79.6 percent in February.
Capacity utilization in the utilities sector jumped to 75.3 percent, while capacity utilization in the manufacturing and mining sectors fell to 78.1 percent and 91.1 percent, respectively.
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