US factory output retreats after 2 strong months

Friday, May 9, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 19

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output slid last month after two months of strong growth. Manufacturers produced less furniture, machinery and plastics.

The Federal Reserve says that factory production in April dropped 0.4 percent from the previous month after rising a revised 0.7 percent in March and 1.5 percent in February. Manufacturing output has risen a solid 2.9 percent over the past year.

Other measures of manufacturing have looked healthy. The Institute for Supply Management has reported that U.S. manufacturing grew faster in April than March. The Commerce Department has said orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods showed decent gains in February and March.

Overall industrial output, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, fell 0.6 percent in April. Output at utilities plunged 5.3 percent; households used less heat as temperatures rose.