WASHINGTON – U.S. industrial production (search) rose in October, notching its fourth straight monthly gain, the Federal Reserve (search) said Friday, while the rate of capacity use rose to its highest level since February.
The Fed said production increased 0.2 percent after a revised 0.5 percent gain in September. Firms operated at 75.0 percent of full capacity in October, up from 74.9 percent in September and the highest pace since 75.4 percent in February.
The rise in output came in slightly below the 0.3 percent rise expected by Wall Street economists, while capacity use was above the 74.9 percent forecast by analysts.
In a sign the troubled manufacturing sector is on the mend, factory production (search) -- which makes up more than four-fifths of total industrial output -- increased for the second straight month, rising 0.1 percent. The slight degree of the rise was attributed in part to a 3.8 percent drop in motor vehicle production, and followed a 0.7 percent surge in September.