BUSINESS GM strike pushed US factory output down 0.5 pct in September


GM strike pushed US factory output down 0.5 pct in September


01:42, October 18, 2019

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Technician David Boxx works on updating an electrical system on a Caterpillar machine at the Puckett Machinery Company in Flowood, Mississippi on October 17, 2019 the Federal Reserve reports on US industrial production for September. (Photo: AP)

US factory output slumped 0.5 percent in September, as a strike at General Motors caused a steep decline in auto production amid broader struggles for manufacturers.

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that manufacturing production has fallen 0.9 pecent over the past 12 months/ The figures showed some stability, however, as factory output increased during the recently ended third quarter after having declined for the first six months of the year.

The G.M. strike, which began on Sept. 16, led to a 4.2 percent decline last month in the making of autos. The automaker reached a tentative 4-year deal this week with workers who took to the picket lines for a month, so automaking could rebound in November. Excluding autos, factory output slipped a more modest 0.1 percent in September.

Total industrial production, which includes mining and utilities as well as manufacturing, slipped 0.4 percent in September.

Mining output fell 1.3 percent last month because of less crude oil being extracted and fewer wells being drilled. Production at utilities improved 1.4 percent as warm weather boosted demand for electricity.

There was a slight decline in capacity utilization in September, a sign that the industrial sector is far from running at full speed. The capacity utilization rate was 77.5 percent in September, down from 77.9 percent in August.

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