Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in October, a smaller-than-expected increase that signals a bumpy recovery ahead.
Stronger activity at utilities drove last month's gain, but production at factories -- the single biggest slice of industrial output -- declined.
That's troubling because it suggests that consumers and businesses remain cautious in their spending, which could continue to restrain manufacturing activity, tempering the strength of the recovery.
Economists expected the Federal Reserve report to show overall industrial production grew 0.4 percent in October.
The 0.1 percent increase followed a 0.6 percent gain in September, slightly smaller than initially reported. But production rose 1.3 percent in August, better than previously estimated.