February 18, 2015 / 2:16 PM / 3 years ago

U.S. manufacturing output grows modestly, hit by auto decline

Robotic arms spot welds on the chassis of a Ford Transit Van under assembly at the Ford Claycomo Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri April 30, 2014. REUTERS/Dave Kaup

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing output rose modestly in January and not at all in December, potentially worrisome signs for the U.S. economy given the recent strength in the dollar and weaker overseas markets.

Factory output edged up 0.2 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. The data showed flat output in December, a downward revision from a previous estimate of 0.3 percent growth.

The output reading comes after several months in which factory manager sentiment surveys have pointed to a slowdown in growth.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising 0.3 percent in January.

Total factory output was dragged lower by a 0.6 percent drop in auto output. Production also fell for food, beverages and tobacco.

Mining output dropped 1 percent, a potential sign of the impact of recent drops in drilling and well-servicing activity brought on by lower oil prices.

Overall industrial production rose 0.2 percent, which was entirely due to an increase in output by utilities.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao

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