U.S. Industrial Production Unexpectedly Unchanged In January

With a nosedive by utilities output offsetting notable increases in mining and manufacturing output, the Federal Reserve released a report on Wednesday showing U.S. industrial production was unexpectedly unchanged in month of January.

The report said industrial production was unchanged in January after slumping by a revised 1.0 percent in December.

Economists had expected industrial production to climb by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.7 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

The Fed said utilities output plummeted by 9.9 percent in January after spiking by 5.1 percent in December, as a swing from unseasonably cool weather in December to unseasonably warm weather in January depressed the demand for heating.

Meanwhile, the report said mining output shot up by 2.0 percent in January after slumping by 1.2 percent in December, while manufacturing output jumped by 1.0 percent after tumbling by 1.8 percent in the previous month.

“The solid 1.0% m/m rebound in manufacturing output in January provides further evidence that the economy began the year on a strong footing,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, “That said, while the survey evidence also appears to be turning a corner, for now it is only consistent with a stabilization in output at a weak level rather than a sustained upturn.”

The Fed also said capacity utilization in the industrial sector edge down to 78.3 percent in January from a downwardly revised 78.4 percent in December.

Economists had expected capacity utilization to inch up to 79.0 percent from the 78.8 percent originally reported for the previous month.

Capacity utilization in the utilities sector plunged to 68.6 percent, while capacity utilization in the mining and manufacturing sectors increased to 89.0 percent and 77.7 percent, respectively.

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