Industrial production edged up in February, but factory output down for third month

WASHINGTON – U.S. industrial production edged up slightly in February, as a big surge by utilities due to a cold winter offset a third straight decline in factory output.

The Federal Reserve says that overall industrial production rose 0.1 per cent in February following a 0.3 per cent fall in January.

The key category of manufacturing fell 0.2 per cent following declines of 0.3 per cent in January and 0.1 per cent in December. The weakness stemmed from a 3 per cent drop in output of motor vehicles and parts, the third straight decline in this category.

Manufacturing growth has slowed over the past six months. U.S. producers have had to contend with a rising dollar, which makes their goods more expensive in foreign markets.