U.S. industrial production unexpectedly fell in April due to a broad-based decrease in manufacturing and a plunge in utilities as temperatures warmed, the government reported Thursday.
The Federal Reserve (Fed) said output at factories, mines, and utilities fell 0.6 percent last month after increasing 0.9 percent in March. Economists had expected a flat reading.
Factory production, which comprises 75 percent of total industrial production, fell 0.4 percent last month after rising 0.7 percent in March and 1.5 percent in February. Over the past year, manufacturing output has risen a solid 2.9 percent.
Utility production plunged 5.3 percent in April, the most since January 2006, after a 0.6 percent gain the previous month. Households used less heat as temperatures rose. Mining production, which includes oil drilling, increased 1.4 percent.
Capacity utilization, which measures the amount of facilities in use, fell to 78.6 percent from 79.3 percent in March.
In contrast to Thursday’s industrial-production report, other measures of manufacturing—which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy—have looked healthy.
The Institute for Supply Management reported that U.S. manufacturing accelerated in April, and the government said orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods showed gains in March and February.