Industrial production declined by 1.2% in August, the biggest drop since March 2009, the Federal Reserve said Friday.
The decrease in activity at factories, mines and utilities followed a revised 0.5% gain in July that was originally reported as a 0.1% increase.
Economists had projected no change, Bloomberg reported.
Manufacturing, which makes up about three-quarters of the total, fell 0.7%. Production of motor vehicles and parts fell 4% in August, following a 2.7% increase.
Factory production excluding autos and parts dropped 0.4%.
Capacity utilization, which measures plant output, decreased to 78.2% from 79.3% in July.
Manufacturing accounts for about an eighth of the U.S. economy. The factory sector is one of trucking’s largest and most important customers.