US industrial output growth slows while import prices rise

City A.M. Reporter
US industrial output slowed last month and a regional measure of factory activity touched a 14-month low in September, pointing to a cooling in manufacturing as the boost from an inventory build-up fades.

The reports yesterday were consistent with other data suggesting the US economy is stuck in a soft spot, but they also showed the manufacturing sector continued to expand and offered nothing to suggest a new recession was brewing.

Industrial production rose 0.2 per cent in August, Federal Reserve data showed, matching economists’ forecasts for a sharp slowdown from July when unusually strong auto manufacturing lifted output. July’s gain was revised down to 0.6 per cent from one per cent.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, total industry output increased 0.4 per cent in August, compared with July’s 0.3 per cent advance.

Separately, the New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index slipped to 4.14 in September from 7.10 in August. September's reading marked the lowest since July 2009 and was below market expectations for 8.0.

Any reading above zero in the index, which economists look to for early clues on national output, indicates expansion.