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US industrial production slips in May as manufacturing output falls

U.S. industrial production snapped a streak of three consecutive months of growth with a decline in May, as a major fire at an auto parts supplier disrupted truck assemblies and held back manufacturing output, the Federal Reserve reported.

Total industrial production edged down 0.1% last month after a revised figure of 0.9% growth in April. Compared to a year earlier, industrial production was up 3.5%.

Manufacturing output decreased 0.7% in May following a revised 0.6% increase in the previous month. Durable goods production fell more than 1%, with motor vehicles and parts production dropping 6.5%.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, total factory output was down 0.2% in May.

Other manufactured durable goods also posted declines in production, including primary metals, electrical equipment, appliances, and components. Within non-durable manufacturing, all industry groups other than chemicals and printing also recorded decreases in output.

Mining output increased 1.8% last month after a revised 1.0% growth in April, as the oil and gas sector continued to post gains.

Utilities production went up 1.1% in May, down from the revised 3.2% growth in the prior month. The Fed said an increase in electric utilities output outweighed a drop in gas utilities production.

Industrial capacity utilization went down 0.2 of a percentage point in May to 77.9%, which is 1.9 percentage points below the long-run average.