Manufacturers continue to struggle with weak overseas growth, strong dollar and sluggish consumer spending at home
WASHINGTON—U.S. factory output dropped in March for the second straight month as manufacturers churned out fewer cars, metal parts and machinery.
The Federal Reserve says factory production fell 0.3 per cent, following a 0.1 per cent drop in February.
The figures suggest that American manufacturers are still struggling with the triple whammy of weak overseas growth, the strong dollar and sluggish consumer and business spending at home. Automakers cut back sharply, as sales slowed last month after a record 2015.
A stronger dollar, compared with foreign currencies, makes U.S. products more expensive overseas and imports cheaper.
Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, fell 0.6 per cent for the second straight month. Amid lower oil prices, a sharp drop in oil and gas drilling activity pulled down mining output 2.9 per cent.