Output at U.S. manufacturers rose in February for a sixth consecutive month, underscoring a sustained rebound in the industry.
The 0.5 percent gain at factories, which make up 75 percent of overall industrial output, matched the prior month’s advance, marking the best back-to-back performance in three years, a Federal Reserve report showed Friday. Total industrial production, which includes mines and utilities, was unchanged as warm weather reduced demand for heating.
More appropriate levels of inventories, a recovery in global markets and stronger corporate spending on equipment have put manufacturers on firmer footing. The data support other figures showing an improving outlook for the nation’s factories.
The increase in manufacturing last month matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Economists’ estimates ranged from a decline of 0.1 percent to an advance of 0.8 percent. The prior month was revised up from an initially reported 0.2 percent increase. Factory output accounts for about 12 percent of the economy.