Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this Dec. 26, 2013 file photo a coal truck is loaded with another payload at the Crown III underground coal mine near Farmersville, Ill. The Federal Reserve reports on the country's industrial production for December on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jim Suhr)
U.S. factory output rises for fifth straight month
First Published Jan 17 2014 08:44 am • Last Updated Jan 17 2014 08:44 am

Washington » U.S. factory output rose for a fifth straight month in December, as manufacturers cranked out more cars and trucks, appliances and processed food. The gains suggest factories gave economic growth a strong boost at the end of the year.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory production rose 0.4 percent in December. That follows gains of 0.6 percent in both November and October. Automakers increased their production 1.8 percent last month and 10.4 percent year over year.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Higher consumer demand is driving much of the increased manufacturing activity. Production of appliances, furniture, carpeting, food and clothing all grew in December. Output of consumer goods gained 0.5 percent.

Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, increased 0.3 percent in December. That’s also the fifth straight monthly gain.

Total production increased 3.7 percent over the last 12 months and has surpassed its pre-recession peak. Output is now 22 percent above its recession low hit in June 2009, the month the downturn ended.

Other indicators point to continued manufacturing strength. Factory orders climbed 1.8 percent in November. A surge in aircraft demand led the increase in orders, while businesses stepped up spending on machinery, computers and other long-lasting goods.

And despite a slowdown in hiring last month across the broader economy, factories added jobs for the fifth straight month in December.

Rising factory orders should help keep economic growth solid in the October-December quarter. Several economists project growth at a 3 percent annual rate in that period after a 4.1 percent rate in the previous quarter.

There are signs that the rate of growth for factory production could slow.

Automakers drove much of the improvement in industrial production through the end of last year, as motor vehicle sales jumped 8 percent to 15.6 million last year.


story continues below
story continues below

However, many industry analysts expect the pace of buying to decline in 2014. Cars and trucks are lasting longer and families are unlikely to splurge on extra vehicles until the economy kicks into higher gear. That could signal slower growth in factory output in the coming months.

Overall economic growth remains modest by historical standards. And though factory orders have strengthened in recent months, the rate of growth has slowed during the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.