Industrial output rises less than forecast

WASHINGTON Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:45am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Industrial output rose modestly in June on strength in mining and utilities, but manufacturing production stagnated in part due to supply disruptions in the auto sector following a Japanese earthquake.

Industrial production climbed 0.2 percent last month, and May's slight gain was revised down to a 0.1 percent decline. Economists polled by Reuters had been looking for a 0.3 percent increase.

Manufacturing stalled, however, according to the Federal Reserve data released on Friday. Taken as a whole, second quarter factory activity was the slowest for any quarter since the recession ended in the summer of 2009.

Capacity utilization, which gauges firms' performance relative to their full potential, was steady at 76.7 percent. That was up 2.2 percentage points from a year earlier but 3.7 percentage points below the average from 1972 to 2010.

(Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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