Bloomberg (05/16/12) Lorraine Woellert
The output of the nation’s factories, mines, and utilities surged 1.1% in April, the biggest gain since December 2010, the U.S. Federal Reserve reported today. Economists forecasted a 0.6% gain, according to the Bloomberg News survey median. March production was revised up to a 0.6% decrease from the initial estimate of unchanged, while February production was revised to a 0.4% gain from a flat reading. Factory activity alone rose 0.6% in April after a 0.5% drop in the previous month. Capacity utilization—a gauge of slack in the economy—rose to 79.2% in April from 78.4% in March. This is the highest capacity reading of this business cycle.