WASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production rose modestly last month, held down by drops in mining and utilities.
The Federal Reserve said industrial production — which includes output at factories, mines and utilities — increased 0.1% in July after climbing 1% in June. Factory production rose 0.3%, led by expanded output by automakers. But production slid 0.3% at mines and 0.5% at utilities.
The July reading for industrial production fell short of economists’ expectations. But it still is up 4.2% from a year earlier. Despite the drop last month, mining has surged 12.9% since July 2017.
American industry has looked relatively healthy despite trade conflicts with China, Europe and Canada, and a rising dollar that makes U.S. products more expensive abroad. Helped by tax cuts, the U.S. economy grew at a 4.1% pace from April through June, fastest since 2014. Employers are hiring, and unemployment is 3.9%, close to a 50-year low.
But manufacturers are coping with labor shortages and supply disruptions connected to the ongoing trade disputes. Among other things, U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are raising costs for many manufacturers.