WASHINGTON – 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.
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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.