The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that factory production has dropped 0.4% from the previous month. This compares to revised scores from the 0.7% increase in March and the 1.5% increase in February. The manufacturing index was up from 53.7% in March to 54.9% in April. Surveyed economists say that the fall of 0.6% in overall industrial output was unexpected but this decrease “may signal a pause” following two months of the biggest gains since 2010. Capacity utilization also fell to 78.6%, down from 79.3%, according to the Fed report.
The National Association of Manufacturers remains optimistic though cautious that the overall moderate growth trend in manufacturing will continue, surmising that April’s decline in activity demonstrates the fragility of the economic recovery.