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Manufacturing rises by most in six months

Published March 18. 2014 4:00AM

Washington - Factory production rose in February by the most in six months, indicating the industry started to recover from severe winter weather.

The 0.8 percent gain at manufacturers followed a revised 0.9 percent slump in the prior month that was the biggest since May 2009, figures from the Federal Reserve in Washington showed Monday. The median forecast called for a 0.3 percent advance. Total industrial production rose 0.6 percent, more than projected.

The advance shows output began to pick up after snowstorms in the eastern United States prevented some factories from receiving parts and materials in January. Stronger demand from consumers and companies would help bolster manufacturers, which are faced with a build-up in inventories.

"Once the weather effects have rolled off, underlying demand is better than expected," said Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities USA in New York, whose forecast for a 0.5 percent increase in factory output was among the highest forecast in the Bloomberg survey. "The market got a little too pessimistic."

Another report Monday showed factories in the New York region kept expanding in March. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's general economic index rose to 5.6 this month from 4.5 in February as new orders picked up.

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