Manufacturing Production Increases

Recorded 2nd Largest Gain 6 Months

Manufacturing GainsWith the weather warming, U.S. manufacturing is heating up and providing ad specialty distributors with an especially hot market to target. Output in the manufacturing sector recorded its largest gain in six months in February, surpassing analysts’ expectations and indicating that economic activity is churning again after a severe winter temporarily slowed momentum.

On Monday, the Federal Reserve reported that factory production in America rose .8% last month, the largest increase since August and better than the .2% uptick economists forecast. The upsurge nearly erased January’s .9% decline – the most precipitous drop since May 2009.

In another sign the sector is strengthening, a gauge of manufacturing in New York state rose as inventories and orders jumped. The New York Federal Reserve’s general business conditions index accelerated to 5.61 in March from 4.48 in February, according to a report released Monday. In fact, the organization’s new orders index rose to 3.13 from just .21 last month.

The positive news from manufacturers was matched by other encouraging data that suggests the U.S. economy is gaining ground. Last month, for instance, mining production increased .3%, helping to elevate overall industrial production .6%. Encouragingly, the amount of industrial capacity in use increased from 78.5% to 78.8% in February.