WASHINGTON – Industrial production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose at the fastest pace in 17 months in October, posting a solid rebound from the Katrina devastation.
The Federal Reserve reported that industrial output was up a healthy 0.9 percent last month as refineries and oil and natural gas platforms began production again after widespread shutdowns caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Output was in line with analysts' expectations.
"The rebound in manufacturing output was stronger than generally thought. A lot of it is concentrated in aircraft," said Kevin Logan, senior economist, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in New York, noting the end of a strike at Boeing.
"Overall it does appear that manufacturing is doing OK. ...(But) we can't really see what the underlying trend in manufacturing is this month," he said.
Last month's increase followed a 1.5 percent plunge in September, which had been the biggest one-month drop in industrial production in more than two decades.
The Fed's report on industrial production showed that manufacturing output was up 1.4 percent last month, the biggest increase in six years, reflecting not only increased activity after the hurricane shutdowns but also the end of a strike at aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing (BA).
The strong increase in manufacturing output offset a 1.9 percent drop in output at the nation's utilities and a 0.5 percent drop in mining output.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.