Sept. Industrial Output Tumbles on Katrina, Rita

Output from U.S. factories, mines and utilities tumbled by a surprisingly sharp 1.3 percent in September due to a big drop in oil and gas output after Hurricanes Katrina (search) and Rita, a Federal Reserve (search) report showed on Friday.

It was the largest decline in industrial production (search) since January 1982, when output fell 1.9 percent, the Federal Reserve said.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting production to fall 0.3 percent in September.

Manufacturing production fell 0.5 percent in September as mining output, which includes oil and natural gas extraction, plunged 9.1 percent, the report said.

Businesses ran at an operating rate of 78.6 percent in September, slower than forecast. Analysts were expecting capacity utilization at 79.6 percent.