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Auto Sector Production Decline Weighs Down Industrial Output, Federal Reserve Reports

Industrial production rose slightly in August by 0.2 percent, the Federal Reserve reported today. The gain follows a 0.7 percent advance in manufacturing in July. A decline in motor vehicle and auto part production contributed to a slower August gain. Excluding the auto sector, manufacturing production rose 0.5 percent in August.

Total industrial production was at 93.2 percent of its 2007 average in August, with total production that month 6.2 percent higher than the previous year. Capacity utilization climbed to 74.7 percent, 4.7 percentage points greater than the previous year. However, that was still 5.9 percentage points lower than its average from 1972 to 2009.

The auto industry experienced the largest production drop of 5.2 percent. Appliances, furniture, and carpeting declined 2.1 percent, while other sectors experienced only slight contractions.

Gaining sectors included construction supply production, which rose 0.8 percent in August after a 0.3 percent decline in July.

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