You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Downtown banking to grow
    Another bank is opening teller lines in downtown Fort Wayne.First Financial Bank and city officials have scheduled an announcement for 10 a.m. today in the Courthouse Green across from the Anthon ...
  • Lincoln earnings rise 26%
    Lincoln National Corp. on Wednesday reported sec­ond-quarter earnings of $398 million, or $1.48 per diluted common share, a 26 percent increase from the $317 million, or $1.15 a sh ...
  • Economy rebounds with fast 4% growth
    WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor from a grim start to 2014 and should show renewed strength into next year.That was the general view of analysts Wed­nesday after the g ...
Advertisement
Associated Press
Dietz Werland works on the assembly line at the Chrysler transmission plat in Kokomo. A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production last month, the latest sign that manufacturing is helping drive economic growth.

Car sales pace sharp gain in factory output

US auto assembly, parts plants drive overall 0.8% February rise

– A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production last month, the latest sign that manufacturing is helping drive economic growth after lagging for much of 2012.

Factory output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in February from January, after falling 0.3 percent in the previous month, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

The biggest gain was in autos and auto parts, where production increased 3.6 percent after falling 4.9 percent in January. Car sales have risen steadily this year after reaching a five-year high in 2012.

Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, rose 0.7 percent in February. That is the most in three months. Utility output jumped 1.6 percent, while mining output, which covers oil and gas drilling, fell 0.3 percent, the third straight decline.

Still, economists were encouraged by the broad-based gains in factory output. Rising home construction and increased business investment in machinery and other goods are also boosting manufacturers. The Fed’s measure of factory production is at its highest level in more than 4 1/2 years.

Production of construction supplies, which includes steel, cement and wood products, rose 1.5 percent, the fourth straight solid gain. Factories also cranked out more industrial machinery, appliances and furniture.

“Growth has clearly picked up,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients. “This is another positive sign” for the economy in the January-March quarter.

Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse, said the healthy increase in output suggests manufacturers will need to step up hiring in the months ahead. Factory job gains could rise to 20,000 a month, up from average gains of 13,000 in the past three months.

Manufacturers are now using 78.3 percent of their capacity, the highest since December 2007.

Advertisement