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Economic Report: U.S. industrial output has small gain in May, has risen for 5 straight months

The numbers: Industrial production rose 0.2% in May, the Federal Reserve reported Friday, the fifth straight monthly gain.

The gain was slightly below Wall Street expectations of a 0.4% gain, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal. From January through April, output rose an average 0.9%.

Capacity utilization inched up to 79% in May from 78.9% in the prior month. The capacity utilization rate reflects the limits to operating the nation’s factories, mines and utilities. 

Economists had forecast a 79.3% rate.

Key details: Manufacturing slipped 0.1% in May after a three straight gains. The index has advanced 4.8% over the past 12 months. The weakness came from durable goods.

Motor vehicles and parts output rose 0.7% after a 3.3% jump in the prior month. Excluding autos, total industrial output increased 0.2%.

Mining output, which includes oil and natural gas drilling, rose 1.3% after a 1.1% gain in the prior month. The sector is up 9% over the past year.

Utilities output rose 1% in May.

Big picture: Economists see manufacturing poised for gains in the near term. There are signs that supply chain bottlenecks have eased.

Market reaction: Stocks


were set to open slightly higher on Friday after posting steep declines on Thursday.

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