WASHINGTON • U.S. industrial production rose by a healthy 0.4 percent in August, boosted by gains in the production of autos, oil and natural gas.
The Federal Reserve said Friday that industrial production, which includes output at factories, mines and utilities, has climbed 4.9 percent over the past 12 months. Industrial production appears on track for its strongest annual growth since 2010, when it jumped 5.5 percent as the economy began to recover from the Great Recession.
Factory production increased 0.2 percent last month, lifted by a 4 percent rise in the making of vehicles and parts. Automakers assembled vehicles at their strongest pace since April.
Still, factory production has slowed over the past two months as trade conflicts have weighed on the sector. The Trump administration is seeking to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and has slapped tariffs on goods from China and threatened to impose more.
Mining output posted a 0.7 percent monthly gain in August. A sharp increase in the production of oil and natural gas has caused mining output to soar 14.1 percent over the past 12 months. Increased oil and natural gas production can support factories that make pipelines, machinery and other equipment.
Production at utilities rose 1.2 percent in August, powered by a surge in electricity usage during the hot month.