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Factory output in US more restrained than initially reported

[WASHINGTON] Manufacturing in the US was more restrained in recent years than previously estimated, according to annual revisions to industrial production data released by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday.

Output at factories, mines and utilities returned to its pre-recession peak in May 2014, seven months later than the Fed previously reported, according to the revisions. Total production increased slightly less than 2.5 per cent annually from 2011 through 2013, then accelerated to 4.5 per cent in 2014 before falling back so far this year.

Estimates of durable goods production for 2012 and 2013 were almost halved. Output of big-ticket items increased 3.5 per cent in 2012 and 2 per cent the following year. Previously, output was reported up 6 per cent and 5 per cent in those years, respectively.

Production of fabricated metals, machinery and computers and electronics showed "much slower gains than previously reported," according to the report.

Capacity rates were also lower than initially reported. Factories, mines and utilities were operating at 77.8 per cent capacity in this year's second quarter, more than 2 percentage points below the average in data from 1972 to 2014.