Industrial production rose 0.9 percent in July after advancing 0.2 percent in June, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board said Tuesday.
Manufacturing output rose 0.6 percent, pushed by a 5.2 percent increase in motor vehicles and auto parts. Manufacturing excluding vehicles and parts rose 0.3 percent, the central bank said.
Utilities increased their output by 2.8 percent, as consumers and businesses battled a prolonged July heat wave. Production at mines rose 1.1 percent in the month compared to June.
Capacity utilization -- measuring production as a percentage of manufacturing, mining and utilities operating at full steam -- climbed 2.2 percentage points from to 76.7 percent to 77.5 percent, a rate that is 2.9 percentage points below its long-term, 1972 to 2010 average, the Fed said.
The utilization rate came in ahead of the consensus forecast, which called for 76.9 percent capacity utilization.