U.S. industrial production rose in April, according to government figures released today. The Federal Reserve said the month's 0.8% percent rise in production at factories, mines and utilities followed March's 0.6% gain. The proportion of industrial capacity in use rose also rose, to 81.9%, the highest since July 2000. Economists told Bloomberg News they had expected industrial production to rise only 0.5% for the month. They also said that increased demand for new technology will help keep the economy growing as consumer spending slows.
Work at factories, which accounts for nearly 90% of industrial production, increased 0.7% last month after rising 0.5% in March. Gains were led by increased production of non-durable consumer goods (food, clothing and paper products), which rose 0.3% in April, following a 0.8% rise in March. Production of durable consumer goods (automobiles, furniture and electronics), fell 0.4% after rising 0.8% the previous month.