World Economy

US Industrial Output Falls

US Industrial Output FallsUS Industrial Output Falls

US industrial production saw its sharpest decline in more than three and a half years in November as utilities dropped sharply, a sign of weakness that could moderate fourth-quarter growth.

Industrial output slipped 0.6% after a downwardly revised 0.4% dip in October, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, marking the third straight month of declines, Reuters reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial production slipping 0.1% last month.

The drop in output - the steepest since March 2012 - reflected a 4.3% decrease in the utilities index, a likely result of mild weather this season as fewer households switched on heating or air-conditioning. Total manufacturing output, however, remained unchanged, bolstered by gains in nondurable goods particularly in the food products category. Analysts had expected manufacturing to tick up 0.1%, according to a Reuters poll.

The industrial sector has been hampered by a slowdown in global growth, low commodities prices and a strong dollar, which have reduced overseas demand for US manufactured products.