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US industrial production posts biggest gain since 2014

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-05-2017 AP

Washington: American industry expanded production last month at the fastest pace in more than three years as manufacturers and mines recovered from a March downturn.

The Federal Reserve said on Tuesday that industrial production at US factories, mines and utilities shot up 1% in April from March, the biggest gain since February 2014 and the third straight monthly gain. The increase was more than twice what economists had expected.

Factory production rose 1% after declining 0.4% in March. Mine production increased 1.2% after falling 0.4% in March. And utility output rose 0.7% after surging 8.2% in March.

Factory production has risen three of four months this year. Manufacturing has recovered from a rough patch in late 2015 and early 2016 caused by cutbacks in the energy industry and a strong dollar, which makes US goods costlier in foreign markets.

The overall US economy grew at a lackluster 0.7% annual pace from January through March. But economists expect growth to pick up the rest of the year as consumers ramp up spending.

A healthy job market bolsters consumer confidence. Employers last month added 2,11,000 jobs and unemployment fell to 4.4%, the lowest in a decade.

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