US factory output flat for 2nd straight month, held back by sharp drop in auto production

Energy Associated Press

FILE - In this June 22, 2015, file photo, workers help to assemble a helicopter at the AgustaWestland's aircraft manufacturing facility in Philadelphia. The Federal Reserve releases industrial production figures for June on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. (... AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (The Associated Press)

U.S. factory production was unchanged for a second straight month in June as a sharp drop in auto manufacturing was offset by greater output of furniture and chemicals.

Continue Reading Below

The cutback in auto production comes after three months of healthy gains and is likely temporary. Still, manufacturers are struggling to overcome several challenges, including the strong dollar, weak overseas growth, and cheaper oil.

Sales at retail stores also fell in June, suggesting consumers are still cautious about spending, limiting demand for factory goods.

The Federal Reserve says that overall industrial production — which includes mining output and utilities, as well as manufacturing — rose 0.3 percent, the best showing since November. Mining, which includes oil and gas wells, rose 1 percent, while utility output jumped 1.5 percent.