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Industrial Output Edges Up in July, Topping Views

Reuters
Friday, 15 Aug 2008 | 8:39 AM ET

U.S. industrial production edged up 0.2 percent in July, boosted by the best gain in manufacturing output in 10 months, a Federal Reserve report on Friday showed.

AP

Meanwhile, in another positive sign for the economy, a gauge of manufacturing in New York state surprisingly rose, gaining for the first time since April although by a modest margin, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Friday.

July's production increase beat forecasts from economists polled by Reuters who had expected output at the nation's mines, factories and utilities to be flat. It followed a revised 0.4 percent increase in June output that previously was reported as a 0.5 percent gain.

Manufacturing output climbed by 0.4 percent in July after a 0.1 percent gain in June. That was the strongest advance in manufacturing output since a matching 0.4 percent increase last September.

July motor vehicles and parts production rose 3.6 percent after a 4.8 percent increase in June.

Utility output declined by 1.9 percent in July after rising 2.3 percent in June. Mining output was up 0.9 percent in each of June and July, helped by strong activity in oil and gas extraction industries.

Business ran at 79.9 percent of maximum operating capacity in July, slightly ahead of the 79.8 percent rate they operated at in June.

Separately, the New York Fed's "Empire State" general business conditions index rose to 2.77 in August from minus 4.92 in July. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of minus 4.4.

The survey of manufacturing plants in the state is one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.

The prices paid component dipped in August to plus 65.17 from plus 77.89 in July. The survey's new orders index fell to minus 2.20 in August from plus 8.27 in July.

The index gauging the number of employees was at minus 4.49 in August versus minus 6.32 in July.

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