April industrial production fell 0.5% from March which had a small increase of 0.2% (previously down 0.1%). The decline was concentrated in utilities (down 3.5%) where the arrival of milder weather reduced demand for heating substantially and manufacturing (down 0.5%) where a drop in motor vehicle production (down 2.6%) was the main reason for the decrease. Excluding motor vehicles, manufacturing was down 0.3%. Mining benefited from gains in oil and gas extraction, as well as “a jump in coal mining that followed a few months of declines” the report said.
Output in the first quarter 2019 got off to a slow start, falling 1.9% at an annual rate. April’s numbers could add to worries that activity will not regain upward momentum in manufacturing, although regional surveys of activity for May could mitigate some of that.
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