March 17, 2014 9:30 AM, EDT
Factory Production Rises by Most in Six Months

U.S. factory production rose in February by the most in six months, indicating manufacturing is starting to recover from severe winter weather, the Federal Reserve reported March 17.

The 0.8% gain at manufacturers followed a revised 0.9% slump in the prior month that was the biggest since May 2009, the Fed said. Total industrial production rose 0.6%.

The advance shows output began to pick up after snowstorms in the eastern U.S. 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.

The report also showed that capacity utilization, which measures the amount of a factory that is in use, increased to 78.8% in February from 78.5% the prior month.

A separate report showed that factories in the New York region continued expansion 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.