U.S. industrial output posts biggest drop in more than 1-1/2 years

WASHINGTON Thu May 15, 2014 9:15am EDT

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WASHINGTON May 15 (Reuters) - U.S. industrial output fell at its fastest rate in more than 1-1/2 years in April as factory production slumped, tempering hopes for a big jump in economic growth after a winter slowdown.

Production at the nation's mines, factories and utilities slipped 0.6 percent last month, the largest decline since August 2012, after an upwardly revised 0.9 percent gain in March, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.

Economists had expected output to hold steady.

Manufacturing production, which had risen solidly in February and March, dropped 0.4 percent.

With output slipping, U.S. industry operated at only 78.6 percent of its capacity, down from 79.3 percent in March. (Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Paul Simao)

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