Month-over-month results for January’s factory output in the U.S. are causing some uncertainty among the nation’s economists regarding the manufacturing outlook for 2018.
While the Federal Reserve predicted a 0.3% gain in U.S. manufacturing growth for January over December, a recent Reuters report said overall industrial production actually fell one-tenth of a percent, which was linked to a 1% decline in mining output. A small increase in output was originally predicted by the Fed in December—an expectation that was revised to show no gain.
Production in the aerospace, plastics and food industries were among the impacted sectors last month, Reuters said.
“The industrial sector has received support over the last year from a strengthening global economy,” Reuters reported. “Capacity utilization, a measure of how fully industries are deploying their resources, fell to 77.5%.”
Gains in manufacturing output, however, have showed promising results in primary metals, computers and motor vehicles, the report explained, with a modest rise since August 2017.
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate