Factory output down in May, hurt by oil refining cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. factory output slipped in May, hurt by a decline in oil refining that overshadowed solid gains by automakers.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that manufacturing output declined 0.2 percent last month, as productivity has basically been flat since January. Manufacturing has been hurt by the stronger dollar, higher oil prices reducing equipment orders and activity at refiners, and previously by cold winter weather at the start of the year.

Overall industrial production - which also includes utilities and mining - fell 0.2 percent in May. Mining activity that covers oil and natural gas drilling tumbled for the fifth straight month, while output at utilities increased slightly.

Other reports indicate that an industrial resurgence could help propel stronger growth through the rest of 2015.

U.S. manufacturing growth improved in May for the first time in six months, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers. Its index of manufacturing activity rose to 52.8 last month from 51.5 in April. That's the highest reading since February. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.

Published: Tue, Jun 16, 2015

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