U.S. industrial output falls in November as manufacturing stays flat

By Megan Cassella, for Reuters

Dec 16, 2015

U.S. industrial production saw its sharpest decline in more than three and a half years in November as utilities dropped sharply, a sign of weakness that could moderate fourth-quarter growth.

Industrial output slipped 0.6 percent after a downwardly revised 0.4 percent dip in October, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, marking the third straight month of declines.

The drop in output - the steepest since March 2012 - reflected a 4.3 percent decrease in the utilities index, a likely result of mild weather this season as fewer households switched on heating or air-conditioning. Total manufacturing output, however, remained unchanged, bolstered by gains in nondurable goods particularly in the food, beverage and tobacco products category.

With output declining, the percentage of industrial capacity in use fell to 77.0 percent from an unrevised 77.5 percent in October.