US industrial production grows 0.2% in September

General Motors plant in Michigan
Image caption Auto output rose for a third straight month

US industrial production grew in September as rising factory output made up for falling output from utilities.

The Federal Reserve said industrial production grew 0.2% in the month, having been unchanged in August.

Factory output grew for a third consecutive month, rising 0.4%, while utility output fell 1.8%.

Manufacturers cut 13,000 jobs in September, having cut 4,000 in August and the average working week for factory workers also declined.

Manufacturing had been among the first part of the economy to show recovery when the recession ended in 2009.

But in early 2011, higher prices for food and fuel depressed demand while the earthquake in the tsunami in Japan disrupted the supply of parts to the auto sector.

Car manufacturing is now recovering from that disruption, with auto output now having grown for the third month in a row.

There was gloomier news from the New York Federal Reserve, which said that its Empire State gauge of manufacturing in New York state had contracted for a fifth consecutive month in October.

"Today's industrial number continues the theme of situational economics, which has come up a lot lately. If you are in the right situation, you are doing OK. If you are not, you are not," said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica in Dallas.

"Auto and energy intensive parts of the countries are stable, but in other areas of the country, we are seeing some softness."

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