WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output rebounded strongly in February after harsh winter storms caused a steep drop-off in production in January. Manufacturers produced more autos, home electronics, and chemicals.
The Federal Reserve says factory production surged 0.8 percent, nearly reversing a 0.9 percent plunge in January that was due mainly to weather. February's gain was the largest in six months.
The figures suggest that factories are poised to boost output and drive more economic growth as the weather improves.
Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, rose 0.6 percent in February, the biggest increase since September. Industrial production had fallen 0.2 percent in January.
Utility output dipped 0.2 percent despite the cold weather. The drop came after a sharp jump of 3.8 percent in January.