U.S. factory production rose at a solid pace for a third month in April, pointing to ongoing strength in the sector.
The 0.8% increase followed a similar gain in March, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday. Total industrial production, which also includes mining and utility output, climbed 1.1% during April.
Median forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.4% advance in factory output and a 0.5% gain in industrial production.
Another robust month of factory output illustrates how an easing of capacity constraints tied to labor and materials is providing producers greater wherewithal to meet resilient demand for business equipment and some household goods. At the same time, changing consumption patterns, high inflation, and rising interest rates risk tempering manufacturing.
The rise in April manufacturing output was broad, including gains in production of metals, machinery, motor vehicles, and food, the Fed’s report showed.
Production of business equipment increased 1.1%, while output of consumer goods rose 0.8% for a second month. Motor vehicle output rose 3.9%. Excluding autos, factory output advanced 0.5%.
At the same time, recent survey-based data paint a bleaker picture. The Institute for Supply Management’s new orders gauge pulled back in April to its lowest level since 2020. Figures out Monday showed manufacturing activity in New York state contracted in May for the second time in three months, as orders and shipments plunged.
Written by: Reade Pickert, Writer, for BNN Bloomberg.