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U.S. Industrial Production Falls for Fifth Straight Month

Wall Street Journal (05/15/15) Kate Davidson

Industrial production declined for the fifth consecutive month in April, falling a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from March, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Weak global demand, a stronger dollar, and lower oil prices may be restraining output. Capacity utilization, a measure of slack in the industrial sector, declined four-tenths of a percentage point to 78.2%, which is slightly below the long-run average recorded since 1972. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.1% decline in industrial production and a capacity utilization rate of 78.3%.

A reduction in industrial production is consistent with an economy that has been slowing this year. Consumer spending has declined and business investment, particularly in the energy sector, has fallen. Economists say economic output may have fallen by as much as 1.0% in the first quarter.