US industrial production fell in April amid a decline in heating oil demand as temperatures returned to normal ranges after an unusually cold March, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.
Industrial output fell 0.5 percent in April, led by a 3.7 percent decline in utilities "as heating demand fell back to a more typical seasonal level," the central bank said.
The decline was sharper than the 0.2 drop expected by analysts, and followed two straight months of higher output, with March production up a revised 0.3 percent.
Mining output rose 0.9 percent after falling 0.6 percent in March.
But manufacturing output fell for the second month in a row, by 0.4 percent, underpinned by a 1.3 percent drop in production of motor vehicles and parts.
Manufacturing gains were seen only in computer and electronic products.
On a year-on-year basis, US industrial output was up 1.9 percent.
In another report highlighting deteriorating conditions in manufacturing, the New York Fed said its Empire State index, measuring manufacturing in New York state, plunged four points to -1.4 in May, the first time since January the reading has been in negative territory.
The drop was unexpected by analysts, who had expected the index to rise to 3.5 from the April reading of 3.1.
May new orders also slid to -1.17, and shipments fell to zero.
The New York Fed said that data for the six-month outlook were generally lower, "suggesting that optimism about future conditions had weakened."