U.S. Factory Output Drops For First Time In 10 Months

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories in April produced fewer goods for the first time in 10 months. A shortage of parts from Japan forced auto makers to cut back output.

The Federal Reserve says manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent in April. That follows nine straight monthly increases. But excluding the drop in activity at auto plants, factory production rose 0.2 percent last month.

The decline in factory production, the single biggest slice of industrial activity, blunted increases in mining and utilities output. Overall industrial activity was flat in April.

Overall industrial production has risen nearly 11.5 percent since hitting a recession-low in June 2009. But it remains about 7.5 percent below its pre-recession peak in September 2007.