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US industrial production falls sharply in April, tempers optimism

A welder works on a fifth wheel for a new oil and gas drilling rig at the Orion Drilling Co. manufacturing and fabrication facility in Corpus Christi, Texas
Eddie Seal | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A welder works on a fifth wheel for a new oil and gas drilling rig at the Orion Drilling Co. manufacturing and fabrication facility in Corpus Christi, Texas

U.S. industrial output fell at its fastest rate in more than 1-1/2 years in April as factory production slumped, tempering hopes for a big jump in economic growth after a winter slowdown.

Production at the nation's mines, factories and utilities slipped 0.6 percent last month, the largest decline since August 2012, after an upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain in March, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.

Economists had expected output to hold steady.

Manufacturing production, which had risen solidly in February and March, dropped 0.4 percent. With output slipping, U.S. industry operated at only 78.6 percent of its capacity, down from 79.3 percent in March.

--By Reuters

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