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Strong Auto Output Boosts US Factory Production

Posted at: 03/15/2013 10:25 AM

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production last month, the latest sign that manufacturing is helping drive economic growth after lagging for much of 2012.

The Federal Reserve says factory output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in February from January, after falling 0.3 percent in the previous month.

The biggest gain was in autos and auto parts, where production increased 3.6 percent after falling 4.9 percent in January. Car sales have risen steadily this year after reaching a five year high in 2012.

Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, rose 0.7 percent in February. That is the most in three months. Utility output jumped 1.6 percent while mining output, which covers oil and gas drilling, fell 0.3 percent, the third straight decline.

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