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Industrial Production Inches Down as Warm Weather Cools Heating Demand

Wall Street Journal (01/16/15) Jeffrey Sparshott

Industrial production fell in December a seasonally adjusted 0.1% from November, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, following a 1.3% gain in November. The decline in production came as warmer winter weather than is typical tempered demand for heating. However, underlying data suggest steady economic growth girded by increasing output from factories and the energy industry. Capacity utilization fell to 79.7% last month from a revised November reading of 80.0%. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast industrial production would remain steady and a capacity utilization rate of 79.9%. Manufacturing output rose 0.3% in December, the fourth monthly increase in a row.

“For the fourth quarter of 2014 as a whole, industrial production advanced at an annual rate of 5.6%, with widespread gains among the major market and industry groups,” the Fed said.