Industrial production in the U.S. was unchanged in May as a drop in utility use offset gains in manufacturing and mining.
Last month’s output at factories, mines and utilities followed a revised 0.4 percent decrease in April that was smaller than previously reported, a Federal Reserve report showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2 percent advance. Manufacturing, which makes up 75 percent of total production, increased 0.1 percent after falling 0.4 percent.
Business investment has eased as the economy navigates the effects of this year’s across-the-board U.S. government budget cuts and higher taxes. At the same time, the auto industry remains a bright spot for manufacturing, which has been hindered by a recession in Europe and a slowdown in China.
“It’s partly the soft-global-growth story,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Florida, said before the report. “You’re seeing strength in things like autos. Everything else seems to be a bit spotty, and some of that is just softer consumer demand in general.”
Stock-index futures held losses after the report, with the contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing this month falling 0.1 percent to 1,628.7 at 9:18 a.m. in New York.
Estimates of the 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from a drop of 0.4 percent to an increase of 0.7 percent. The prior month was previously reported as a 0.5 percent decrease. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy.
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