Industrial production edged up in February, but factory output down for third month

EnergyAssociated Press

U.S. industrial production edged up slightly in February, as a big surge by utilities due to a cold winter offset a third straight decline in factory output.

The Federal Reserve says that overall industrial production rose 0.1 percent in February following a 0.3 percent fall in January.

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The key category of manufacturing fell 0.2 percent following declines of 0.3 percent in January and 0.1 percent in December. The weakness stemmed from a 3 percent drop in output of motor vehicles and parts, the third straight decline in this category.

Manufacturing growth has slowed over the past six months. U.S. producers have had to contend with a rising dollar, which makes their goods more expensive in foreign markets.