U.S. manufacturing output in November surpassed its pre-recession peak, as auto production kicked into a higher gear.
The Federal Reserve says factory production rose 1.1 percent last month, up from a 0.4 percent improvement in October. Manufacturing output has risen 4.8 percent over the past 12 months. It's now above the previous high set just before the downturn began in December 2007.
Total industrial production grew 1.1 percent in November, rising in part as utilities faced additional demand because of colder than usual weather boosted demand. Mining production slipped 0.1 percent last month.
Strong sales helped boost auto production 5.1 percent last month. Motor vehicles sold in November at an annualized clip of 17.2 million, a 4.6 percent increase from the prior year, according to Autodata Corp.