Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

US industrial output falls 0.6%

Oil refinery
Output at US mines, including oil drilling, was up 2.5% in November

US industrial production fell by a smaller-than-expected 0.6% in November, official figures have shown.

The fall was led by carmakers as sales dropped amid the severe downturn. However, the decline was not as bad as the 0.8% fall predicted by analysts.

Industrial production had dropped 5.5% compared with November 2007, the Federal Reserve said.

The figures also showed that output had risen by 1.5% during October, up from an earlier estimate of 1.3%.

Manufacturing output declined 1.4% in November after a 0.6% rise in October, while November's output at US mines, including oil drilling, was up 2.5%.

'Catastrophic'

The big three carmakers - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler - have been seeking billions of dollars from the US government.

Car sales have fallen as the economic downturn has led consumers to cut back on spending.

But analysts said that the figures might be worse than they looked.

"Output received a boost from the end of the strike at Boeing and the gradual resumption in oil and gas production following Hurricane Ike," said Paul Ashworth, senior US economist at Capital Economics.

"There was at least a 3.2% rebound in the production of business equipment, but that was mainly down to the Boeing effect and it isn't enough to suggest that the drop in business investment in the current quarter is going to be anything better than catastrophic."



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