Industrial production in the United States tumbled in April, the biggest drop in eight months. The Federal Reserve says the total output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities fell 0.5% following a downwardly revised 0.3% gain in March.
The April performance is weaker than a consensus forecast from economists who were predicting a 0.2% drop.
The decline was broad-based. The manufacturing sector, accounting for about 75% of industrial production, fell for the third time in four months, shedding 0.4%. Production of durable goods decreased 0.6%, due partly to a 1.3% decline in vehicle and parts production, while utility output fell 3.7%.
If there is any good news, it is believed the decline in vehicle production is only a blip because automakers have been reporting increasing sales.
The news comes as a separate report from the U.S. Labor Department shows prices at the wholesale level fell in April by the most in three years.
The 0.7% decline in the producer price index was led by a 2.5% falloff in energy prices. Excluding the volatile energy and food sectors, the PPI increased only 0.1% in April, the smallest hike since November.
Analysts are concerned about both reports because they may indicate weaker economic growth in United States. However, a report earlier showed retail sales in the country enjoyed broad-based gains in April.