Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2004

Industrial production, business activity up

June 17, 2004

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— Big industry production surged by 1.1 percent in May, the strongest performance in nearly six years, and a nationwide survey of business activity is showing widespread strength, two fresh signs of economic momentum.

The sizable increase in industrial production reported Wednesday by the Federal Reserve came after a strong 0.8 percent rise in April. The 1.1 percent advance -- better than the 0.6 percent rise that some economists were expecting -- represented the biggest gain since August 1998.

Factory production -- the biggest slice of industrial activity tracked by the Fed -- rose by 0.9 percent in May, up from a 0.7 percent increase the month before.

In a second report, the Fed said economic activity continued to expand across the nation in April and May.

The job climate also improved, with hiring increasing at a faster pace in most of the Fed's 12 regions, the report said.

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