US industrial output fell by 0.2 percent in September
Washington - AFP
US industrial production fell for a second straight month in September, as manufacturing declined and mining was hit by cutbacks amid declining energy prices, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.
Total industrial output fell by 0.2 percent in September after an upwardly revised 0.1 percent drop in August, the central bank said. The August number was previously reported as a 0.4 percent decline.
The September decline was half as steep as analysts expected. Year-over-year, the nation's industrial activity rose a modest 0.4 percent.
The embattled manufacturing sector, which makes up about 75 percent of industrial production, continued to slow. Activity slipped 0.1 percent after a 0.4 percent drop in August.
The drop in manufacturing output was due to lower production in durable goods, including electrical equipment and appliances, as manufacturers face a strong dollar that is weighing on exports and modest growth in the US economy.
Mining output fell a steep 2.0 percent in September as businesses continued to scale back in the face of low energy prices. Mining output was down 5.7 percent year-on-year.
"The decline in mining output reflected sizable cuts in both the extraction of crude oil and the drilling of oil and gas wells," the Fed said.
Utilities output rose 1.3 percent, matching August's gain. The central bank said the increase was led by warmer-than-usual temperatures that boosted demand for air conditioning.
Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities, said that the auto industry was supporting the industrial sector.
"Excluding autos, output growth is -0.1 percent on the year, showing that there is not much upside in the economy," he said.
"This report shows the economy is stuck and inflation bottlenecks are not building."