Industrial output flat in April

Markets Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. industrial output was flat in April as the earthquake in Japan in March interrupted the supply of parts to auto makers, a Federal Reserve report said on Tuesday.

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Factory production fell 0.4 percent in April, its first decline in 10 months, the Fed said. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, factory production rose 0.2 percent in April.

Manufacturing makes up almost 75 percent of U.S. industrial production.

Analysts had expected a 0.4 percent rise in overall output, which was buoyed by increases of 0.8 percent in mining and 1.7 percent in utilities.

Total industrial production is 5 percent above its year-ago level, the Federal Reserve said.

Capacity use, a measure of how close firms are to running their facilities at maximum capability, fell unexpectedly to 76.9 percent in April from a downwardly revised 77 percent in March. Analysts were expecting capacity use to rise to 77.6.

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(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)