WASHINGTON – Industrial production fell 0.4% in December, the third straight monthly decline, according to data released by the Federal Reserve on Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.2% fall in production. November's decline in output was revised to a 0.9% drop from the prior estimate of a fall of 0.6%. December's decline was led by cutbacks in utilities and mining. Manufacturing output fell 0.1% for the second straight month in December as auto production fell 1.7%. Excluding autos, manufacturing inched up 0.1%. For the fourth quarter, total production fell 3.4%, the largest decline since the recession in 2009. Capacity utilization fell to 76.5% in December from a downwardly revised 76.9% in November, slower than the 76.8% expected.
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