U.S. Industrial Production Dips Amid Slump In Heating Demand

With utilities output plummeting amid a slump in demand for heating, the Federal Reserve released a report on Friday showing a modest pullback in U.S. industrial production in the month of December.

The Fed said industrial production fell by 0.3 percent in December after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.8 percent in November.

Economists had expected industrial production to dip by 0.2 percent compared to the 1.1 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

The pullback in production came as utilities output plunged by 5.6 percent in December after surging up by 1.0 percent in November, with unseasonably warm weather leading to a large decrease in demand for heating.

Meanwhile, the report said manufacturing output crept up by 0.2 percent in December after spiking by 1.0 percent in November, while mining output jumped by 1.3 percent following a 0.2 percent decrease.

The Fed also said capacity utilization for the industrial sector slid to 77.0 percent in December after climbing to an upwardly revised 77.4 percent in November.

Economists had expected capacity utilization to slip to 77.1 percent from the 77.3 percent originally reported for the previous month.

Capacity utilization in the utilities sector led the way lower, tumbling to 73.5 percent in December from 78.0 percent in November.

On the other hand, capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector inched up to 75.2 percent in December from 75.1 percent in November and capacity utilization in mining sector rose to 89.6 percent from 88.8 percent.

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