Production at US factories increased for a sixth month in February, helping to stoke the economy and aid expansion.
The 0.4 percent rise in manufacturing output, which makes up 75 per cent of all industrial production, followed a 0.9 per cent gain the previous month. This was three times as large as initially estimated by economists.
Strong overseas demand, business investment and inventory restocking continue to fuel the US manufacturing sector, laying the foundation for the recovery.
However, rising fuel prices and the crisis in Japan pose a risk to consumer confidence.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 48.5 in the week ended March 13, the lowest level since August, from minus 44.5 in the prior period.