US factory output drops, autos fall the most since recession

  • The Federal Reserve said on Friday manufacturing production slumped 0.9 percent last month, the deepest drop in eight months.
  • Production of motor vehicles and parts dropped 8.8 percent in January, the steepest decline since May 2009, when the United States was still mired in a deep recession.
  • Total industrial output - which includes factories, mining operations and utilities - dropped 0.6 percent during the month.
A man using an angle grinder on a steel piece at a metal fabrication company on August 7, 2018 in Orange County, New York.
Waring Abbott | Getty Images
A man using an angle grinder on a steel piece at a metal fabrication company on August 7, 2018 in Orange County, New York.

U.S. manufacturing output fell steeply in January as motor vehicle production posted its biggest fall since 2009, with declines in a broad range of goods likely to fuel fears of a sharp slowdown in factory activity.

The Federal Reserve said on Friday manufacturing production slumped 0.9 percent last month, the deepest drop in eight months. Data for December was revised to show a smaller increase in output that month than initially reported.

Production of motor vehicles and parts dropped 8.8 percent in January, the steepest decline since May 2009, when the United States was still mired in a deep recession. Output also fell last month for machinery, chemicals, electronics and aerospace equipment.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising 0.1 percent in January.

Total industrial output - which includes factories, mining operations and utilities - dropped 0.6 percent during the month.

It was the first decline since May 2018.