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POST TIME: 17 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
US manufacturing plunges in January
AFP, Washington

US manufacturing plunges in January

American manufacturing plunged in January, largely on the drop in vehicle assembly, cutting overall industrial production to its biggest decline since mid-2018, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

Even excluding the sharp drop in vehicle output, manufacturing—which is at the center of

President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policies—still declined, albeit by a smaller amount.

That was only partially offset by the slight rebound in utilities, while the volatile mining sector edged slightly higher.

Manufacturing fell 0.9 per cent last month compared to December, although it is still 2.9 per cent higher than January 2018, according to the Fed report.

That drove overall output down 0.6 per cent—in both cases the biggest declines since May of last year. Economists had been expecting a 0.2 per cent gain in production.

The auto industry, which has struggled to adapt to changing technology and consumer tastes,

competition and rising steel prices due to the steep tariffs Trump imposed last year, saw production of vehicles plunge 14.4 percent, while output of parts dropped 3.6 per cent.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing still declined 0.2 per cent, the report said.

Adding to the signals of a slowing industrial sector, overall production in December was slower than originally reported, rising just 0.1 per cent rather than 0.3 per cent. But output in January was 3.8 per cent better than a year earlier.