U.S. industrial output grew in March for fifth straight month

on Friday, April 15, 2011

U.S. industrial output grew in March for fifth straight month  U.S. manufacturing continues to serve as a bright spot in the economic recovery as industrial production jumped more than originally forecast in March. 

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, consumer goods manufacturing rallied to help drive the uptick in manufacturing growth. Output in the U.S. rose for the fifth straight month in March, climbing 0.8 percent after inching up 0.1 percent in February. Manufacturing, which makes up three-fourths of output, increased 0.7 percent

Analysts assert the U.S. manufacturing sector is benefiting from the rise in business investment and from increased demand from abroad. Moreover, the slowdown to Japanese production could help drive manufacturing growth upward as U.S. companies make up for the lost Japanese supplies.

"The economy is really starting to take shape," BNP Paribas economist Bricklin Dwyer told Bloomberg. Though "we expect a cool down" over the next couple of months because of the supply chain disruptions emanating from Japan, that contraction will likely be a "short-lived phenomenon," Dwyer asserted. "We've seen global manufacturing increase since the crisis."

In the New York region, manufacturing surged to its highest levels in over a year. The Empire State factory index, as it is colloquially known, jumped to 21.7 from 17.5 in February; a reading above zero indicates growth.

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