Industrial production in U.S. rises by most in six months

Auto Production

The output of motor vehicles and parts jumped 5.2% after a 4.5% decrease a month earlier, today’s report showed. Industrial production excluding autos and parts increased 0.2% for a second month.

The automobile industry is bolstering an improved outlook for production in the world’s largest economy. Cars and light trucks sold at a 16 million annualized rate last month, the fastest since November 2007, after 15.7 million in July, figures from Ward’s Automotive Group showed. Sales at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, is expanding output of its Fusion sedan, and said its factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, could produce another model as demand grows. The additional shift of 1,400 new workers at the plant will boost Fusion capacity more than 30%.

“We expect the sales momentum to stay here in the U.S. and around the world,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, told reporters on Aug. 29.

Machinery Production

Details of the industrial production data released today also showed machinery production rose 0.8%, erasing the decline from a month earlier. Output of construction materials rose 0.3%. Output of computers and electronics increased 1.6%.

Consumer goods production advanced 0.3%, while output of business equipment rose 0.9%.

Texas Instruments Inc., the largest maker of analog chips, is among companies with a brighter outlook as global markets stabilize.

“Orders continue to be quite solid” this quarter, Chief Financial Officer Kevin March said at a Sept. 11 technology conference. “We continue to build backlog, which is a good sign. We continue to see strength in three of the four regions of the world,” with Asia, Japan, and the Americas expanding, he said.

The U.S. economy is projected to grow at a 2% annualized pace in the third quarter after expanding at a 2.5% rate in the prior three months, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11. A previous survey conducted Aug. 2 to Aug. 6 showed an estimate of 2.3% for the third quarter.

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