US industrial production was 0.7 per cent lower in the January than in the same month last year, according to figures released by the Federal Reserve today.
While the data shows a third month of annual contraction, it is a slower rate than December's 1.8 per cent.
Manufacturing, the biggest sub-sector of industrial production, climbed 1.2 per cent from the same month last year.
Mining, which includes oil and gas well drilling, sunk 9.8 per cent – a slower decline than December's 11.8 per cent.
Utilities were down 2.8 per cent compared with the same month last year, despite posting a significant jump compared with December. It rose 5.4 per cent compared with December after warm weather reduced utilities output.
"Over the past year, manufacturing output increased by 1.2 per cent, which is admittedly not much, but it is a lot better than the “collapse” it is often characterised to be. That said, we don’t expect much improvement in manufacturing for quite some time. Global demand remains weak and, although the dollar has depreciated slightly over the past three weeks, it is still up by close to 20 per cent over the past 18 months," said Steve Murphy, an economist at Capital Economics.
"Mining output was unchanged last month and the good news is that the drag from mining investment should fade by the first half of the year."