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Industrial production fell 1.4% in February; the overall index has now declined for four consecutive months and for 10 of
the past 12 months, according to the Federal Reserve.
At 99.7% of its 2002 average, output in February was 11.2% below its year-earlier level and was the lowest level since April 2002. Production in the manufacturing sector moved down 0.7%, with broad-based declines among its components.
An increase in the production of motor vehicles and parts after the extended plant shutdowns in January, however, added nearly a half percentage point to the change in manufacturing production. Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines moved down 0.4%, while a swing to above-average temperatures contributed to a 7.7% drop in the output of utilities.
The capacity utilization rate for total industry fell to 70.9%, a rate 10 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2008. This rate matches the historical low for this series, which was recorded in December 1982; the data for total industrial utilization begin in 1967.
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