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U.S. Industrial Production Falls in March

Wall Street Journal (04/15/15) Eric Morath

U.S. industrial production declined a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in March from February, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, capacity utilization, a measure of slack in the industrial sector, declined six-tenths of a percentage point to 78.4%. The measure is 1.7 percentage points below the long-run average recorded since 1972. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.4% fall in industrial production and capacity utilization of 78.6%.

Industrial production in the first quarter declined at an annual rate of 1.0%, marking the first quarterly decrease since the second quarter of 2009 and suggesting that a retreating oil industry and stronger dollar are curbing production. “The decline last quarter resulted from a drop in oil and gas well drilling and servicing,” the Fed said. “And from a decrease in manufacturing production of 1.2%.”