US factory output picks up in February for 2nd month

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories produced more machinery, appliances and computers last month, the second straight increase in output and a sign manufacturing is stabilizing after a difficult year.

The Federal Reserve says factory production rose 0.2 percent in February, after rising 0.5 percent the previous month.

The gains suggest that U.S. manufacturers are overcoming challenges from the strong dollar and weak overseas growth, which have cut into exports. Factories added jobs last year at the weakest pace since the recession ended in 2009.

Overall industrial production, which includes utilities and mining, fell 0.5 percent last month, the fourth drop in five months. Utility production plunged 4 percent as mild temperatures lowered demand for heat.

And mining output, which includes oil and gas drilling, fell 1.4 percent, a result of low oil prices.