US industrial production figures for October reveals manufacturing output eased after several strong months.
US Federal Reserve data shows manufacturing output fell 0.1% in the past month, after a jump of 0.8% in September.
Factory production had also surged 1.4% in August and 1.2% in July, fueled by rising motor vehicle and parts production and a general pickup in economic activity.
In October, auto production fell 2%, reflecting some of the volatility from the US government’s “cash for clunkers” program that spurred buying until the incentives ended in August.
Capacity utilistion, a sign of slack in the industrial economy, moved up 0.2 percentage points to 70.7%.
This is 10.2 percentage points below its average for 1972 through 2008. Even with the latest rise, industrial production is down 7.1% from a year ago, reflecting the deep recession that has caused industries to slash output.
US economists say this squares with other data in suggesting that the early quarters of the economic and manufacturing recovery will be constrained by issues related to the sources of demand.