WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output took a breather in April after two months of strong growth, as manufacturers produced less furniture, machinery and plastics.
The Federal Reserve said Thursday that factory production fell 0.4 percent from the previous month after rising a revised 0.7 percent in March and 1.5 percent in February. Manufacturing output has risen a solid 2.9 percent over the past year.
The decline appears to be a temporary setback that doesn't have economists too worried.
"We are not concerned by the drop in industrial production, because it was likely a one-time event" given healthy signals from other recent measures of manufacturing, said economists at Deutsche Bank Securities in a note to clients.
The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, has reported that U.S. manufacturing grew faster in April than March. Its manufacturing index rose to 54.9 last month from 53.7 in March as exports rose and factories stepped up hiring. Any reading above 50 signals growth.
The Commerce Department has said orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods showed decent gains in February and March.