US industrial production increased 0.8 per cent in March and rose at an annual rate of 6 per cent for the first quarter as a whole, according to the latest data.
US manufacturing output advanced 0.7 per cent in March, its fourth consecutive month of strong expansion.
Factory production climbed at an annual rate of 9.1 per cent in the first quarter.
Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines rose 0.6 per cent in March, while the output of utilities increased 1.7 percent after declining significantly in the preceding two months.
At 93.6 per cent of its 2007 average, total industrial production was 5.9 per cent above its year-earlier level. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry rose 0.5 per cent to 77.4 per cent – a rate 3.0 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2010.
The production index for durable goods advanced 1 per cent in March, and gains were widespread across its major categories. The output of motor vehicles and parts rose 3.0 percent following an increase of 4.6 per cent in February since December 2010.
Total motor vehicle assemblies have risen about 1.3 million units to an annual rate of 8.9 million units.
In March, sizable gains in output also were recorded in the following industries: wood products, fabricated metal products, non-metallic mineral products, and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment.
Among other industries, smaller increases were recorded for primary metals, machinery, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, appliances and components and furniture and related products.