September Industrial Production Lower Than Expected

U.S. industrial output inched up a less-than-expected 0.1 percent in September, suppressed in part by hurricanes that hit the United States that month, the Federal Reserve (search) said on Friday.

The small expansion in output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities followed a 0.1 percent contraction in August, the Fed said. August's output was initially reported as having risen 0.1 percent.

Wall Street analysts had expected industrial output to expand 0.3 percent in September.

"The recent spate of hurricanes appears to have had a noticeable restraining effect on production last month," the Fed said in a statement.

Manufacturing production (search), which accounts for more than four-fifths of overall industrial output, fell 0.3 percent in September after increasing 0.2 percent in August and 0.9 percent in July.

Mining output fell 2.3 percent in September, after a 0.9 percent drop in August.

"Output dropped sharply in the oil and gas extraction, chemical materials, and petroleum refining industries," the Fed said, estimating those industries contributed to a 0.3 percentage point drop in the overall industrial production rate.

The Fed attributed a 5.4 percent surge in utilities output to "a swing to relatively warm temperatures after unseasonably cool weather in August."

U.S. industries operated at 77.2 percent of capacity in September, the same rate as the month before, the Fed said.