Manufacturing continues to decline in the U.S.

Total industrial production in the U.S., including manufacturing and energy output, fell 0.6 percent from October to November and was down 5.5 percent from one year ago, according to The Wall Street Journal. This results in part from factories scaling back production.

Recovery from a September hurricane that affected oil and gas production and the end of a strike at Chicago-based Boeing Co. prevented what reportedly would have been a decline of almost 1 percentage point more from October to November.

Manufacturing output dropped 1.4 percent from October to November as the auto sector declined and major sectors such as metals and chemicals experienced weakness. Industrial output is heading for its worst quarter since 1980, and little improvement is expected in the near future.

“Production is now being slashed pretty much across the board in response to weak domestic and overseas demand,” says Brian Bethune, economist for IHS Global Insight, Lexington, Mass.

However, there were gains in some industrial output sectors; mining output, which includes oil and gas firms, increased 2.5 percent, and utility production increased 1.6 percent.

Date : 12/17/2008