U.S. industrial production rose a solid 0.3 percent in September, but the increase was limited due to the lingering damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Federal Reserve said yesterday that the storms, which struck the Gulf Coast and Florida, held down industrial output by 0.25 percentage points. Still, the manufacturing of automobiles, home electronics and appliances advanced in a potentially positive sign for consumer spending. Factory output improved 0.1 percent, while the mining and utilities sectors rebounded from declines in August. Mining posted a 0.4 percent monthly gain, and production at utilities climbed 1.5 percent.
Over the past year, industrial production has risen just 1.6 percent - largely a reflection of the hurricanes over the past two months. Before the storms, the manufacturing sector had been helped by a stronger global economy leading to greater demand for U.S.-made goods. Other reports indicate an increasingly healthy manufacturing sector.