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US industrial output slipped in the first month of the year, on a decline in construction and other industrial supplies and in the mining sector, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.
Industrial production dipped 0.1 percent in January, but was still 3.7 percent higher than the same month of 2017, a year when output posted the biggest increase in seven years, according to the data.
The figures can be wildly volatile and subject to large revisions: December grew at a slower pace than originally reported, while production in November was revised to show a slight increase rather than a decline.
Still, the key manufacturing sector was flat in the latest two months, while mining output fell 1.0 percent in January compared to December when the result was revised to show a 0.4 percent drop rather than a large increase, the report said.
However, mining remains 8.8 percent higher than a year ago, and manufacturing was up 1.8 percent.
Utilities rose 0.6 percent in the month and are nearly 11 percent higher than the start of last year.
Overall output was held down by a 1.4 percent drop in construction supplies, while automotive products slowed after a big jump in December. Defense and space equipment slipped 0.2 percent after six consecutive monthly increases.
Bright spots included a 1.7 percent rise in home electronics, a 1.1 percent increase in chemical products, and a similar gain in electrical equipment and appliances.
Meanwhile, industrial capacity in use slipped to 77.5 percent from 77.7 percent, but remains 1.2 points higher than a year earlier.
However, the manufacturing sector continues to show a higher rate of idle capacity, with 76.2 percent in use, a rate that remains 2.1 points below its long-run average, the Fed said.