WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve releases its November report on U.S. industrial production at 9:15 a.m. Eastern Wednesday.
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STUMBLING AGAIN: Economists forecast that industrial production — which includes output from manufacturers, mines and utilities — slipped 0.1 percent last month after being essentially flat in October and dropping in August and September, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet.
The overall industrial production number was restrained by a 2.6 percent drop in utility output — the result of an unseasonably warm October that reduced demand for heating. Manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent in October and mining output climbed 2.1 percent on increased coal mining.
HEADWINDS: American industry has been hurt by a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods costlier in foreign markets. Industrial production was down 0.9 percent from October 2015. Despite the uptick in October, mining output was down 7 percent from October 2015 — as energy companies slashed production and exploration in the face of low oil prices.
Mines have shed 87,000 jobs over the past year and factories 54,000.