WASHINGTON — Industrial production rose in July on the strength of U.S. manufacturing, as auto factories stayed open and businesses replaced worn-out equipment.
Output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 1.0 percent last month, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.
Factory output, the largest single component of industrial production, grew 1.1 percent. It was the biggest jump in nearly a year. Boosting output were auto plants that kept operating when they normally shutter for summer renovations. Even without the strong auto sector, factory output rose 0.6 percent.
Business equipment production grew 1.8 percent, the most of any major market group. That number has remained positive since February, while consumer goods and construction supplies have been uneven.
The last time factory output increased so steeply was August 2009, when the government’s Cash for Clunkers program drove a 1.3 percent gain.
The report did show that June’s results were revised to show a 0.1 percent loss. That was the first decrease since the previous June.
Strong manufacturing growth should ease fears that the economy could fall back into a recession.
U.S. factories were operating at 74.8 percent of their capacity, a .7 percent increase from June but still well below the historical average of 80.6 percent.