- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 15, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in March, lagging behind expectations despite growth in the key manufacturing sector. The results underscore the uneven nature of the spreading economic recovery.

Manufacturing, the index’s largest component, grew by a robust 0.9 percent in March, and mining was up 2.3 percent.

But those gains were nearly offset by a sharp 6.4 percent drop in utility output, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.

Utilities enjoyed a major boost from winter storms starting in December, while the weather dampened manufacturing output.

The modest overall gain matches February’s result, reflecting a slow but steady upswing in the activity at factories, utilities and mines. But analysts expected a rise of 0.7 percent, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The index’s consistent gains, however muted, suggest the economic recovery is durable.

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