U.S. Industrial Output Up Modestly in July--Update

By Josh Mitchell and Sarah Chaney Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. industrial output picked up modestly in July, as a slowdown in vehicle production underscores new softness in the factory sector.

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Industrial production -- a measure of everything made by factories, mines and utilities -- grew 0.2% in July from a month earlier, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. Economists had expected a 0.3% increase.

Mining and utility output climbed steadily, but a slowdown in factory output suggested underlying softness in the economy. Factory output fell 0.1%, the second monthly decline in three months. Production of vehicles and parts fell sharply, outweighing a rise in the production of other goods.

Factory output has been choppy in recent months. Over the past year it has risen a modest 1.2%, suggesting economic growth in the U.S. remains sluggish overall despite recent signs of momentum.

Mining, meanwhile, has picked up as the energy sector slowly rebounds after a downturn. Mining production rose 0.5% last month and has climbed 10.2% in the past year.

Utility output rose 1.6% last month but is still down 0.6% over the past year.

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Capacity use, a measure of slack across industries, was flat at 76.7%.

A Fed spokesman said Thursday's report was inadvertently posted on the Fed's website before the customary release at 9:15 a.m. ET.

The Federal Reserve's report on industrial production can be found at

https://www.federalreserve.gov/Releases/g17/current/default.htm

Write to Josh Mitchell at joshua.mitchell@wsj.com and Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 17, 2017 09:36 ET (13:36 GMT)