Ahead of the Bell: US industrial production

Markets Associated Press

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday releases its October report on industrial production at 9:15 a.m. Eastern.

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FACTORY OUTPUT RISING: Economists forecast that manufacturing output increased 0.3 percent last month, according to data provider FactSet. This comes after a 0.2 percent gain in September.

Analysts believe that overall industrial production, which includes mines and utilities, will rise 0.2 percent, an acceleration from the 0.1 percent growth in September.

STILL RECOVERING: Manufacturers have endured a brutal year that crimped sales and hiring. The relatively strong dollar made U.S. goods more expensive overseas, hurting exports. Low energy prices dried up demand for drilling equipment and pipelines. Businesses became cautious about investing in machinery. The seeds of a rebound in factory output began this summer as manufacturers adapted to these obstacles, such that production levels have been flat over the past 12 months.

Separate reports suggest that manufacturing is slowly progressing back to full capacity.

The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index came in at 51.9 in October. Anything above 50 signals growth. Production and export orders grew faster in October. A measure of factory employment rose last month after falling for three straight months.