Heating Demand Fuels US Industrial Production Rise

Industrial production
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. industrial production rose more than expected in March, but the increase was due to a surge in demand for utilities during a cold snap, while output actually declined at the nation's factories.

Industrial production grew 0.4 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected industrial output to rise 0.2 percent.

(Click here to track the U.S. stock market's reaction to the economic report.)

Utilities output jumped 5.3 percent during the month, which the Fed said was due to unusually cold weather driving up heating demand.

Manufacturing output dropped 0.1 percent during the month, unwinding part of a strong gain posted in February. The decline was broad based, with output dropping for primary metals and electronics, although production of cars increased.

Industry capacity utilization, a measure of how fully firms are using their resources, rose to 78.5 percent in March from 78.3 percent in February.