BIG SPILL: U.S. industrial production fell 1.2 percent in August, the largest amount since March 2009 when the country was in recession. Factories produced fewer cars and other manufactured goods. Hurricane Isaac triggered shutdowns along the Gulf Coast.
THE DETAILS: Manufacturing output, the most important component of industrial production, fell 0.7 percent, led by a 4 percent drop in output at auto plants, the Labor Department reported Friday. Output in mining and utilities also dropped,
THE OUTLOOK: Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said that he was concerned that the drop in manufacturing output was "the start of a much weaker trend, as the global economic slowdown begins to have a more marked impact."