You are here

US industrial output rebounds sharply in November

AMERICAN industry saw production jump in November following the end of the nationwide strike at General Motors (GM), the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

But even discounting the effects of the end of the work stoppage, industrial output posted a solid gain after many disappointing months, according to the data.

The Fed's industrial production index surged 1.1 per cent, rebounding even more than expected, posting the biggest increase since May 2010. That more than erased the 0.9 per cent decline in October.

Manufacturing also jumped 1.1 per cent in the month, the biggest gain since February 2018, according to the report.

"These sharp November increases were largely due to a bounce back in the output of motor vehicles and parts following the end of a strike at a major manufacturer," the Fed said.

Nearly 50,000 GM workers walked off the job nationwide in mid-September, staging a six-week strike, the longest work stoppage to hit the carmaker in decades.

Production of motor vehicles and parts last month jumped 12.4 per cent.

Excluding the auto sector, total output still rose 0.5 per cent, while manufacturing increased 0.3 per cent, which is a positive sign since the sector has seen declines in seven months this year.

But even with the upbeat news, total industrial production and manufacturing output are each 0.8 per cent lower than in November 2018.The oil industry also continued to slow, causing mining output to slip another 0.2 per cent. But utilities jumped 2.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, industrial capacity in use fell to 77.3 per cent, the lowest since October 2017, and well below the average of the last five decades.

Companies nationwide have reported struggling to find workers, which may slow their expansion, but also for over a year have been delaying or cancelling investment due to President Donald Trump's trade war with China.