Factory output rises in March for first time since Nov.

Paul Wiseman
Associated Press

Washington — Output at U.S. factories rose last month for the first time since November, pushed up by increased auto production.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that manufacturing output rose 0.1 percent in March, following a 0.2 percent drop in February. Automotive output rose 3.2 percent last month. But the Fed said factory production fell 0.6 percent in January, twice what it originally reported.

Overall industrial production fell 0.6 percent in March, pulled down by a 5.9 percent drop in utility output as temperatures rose and Americans turned down their thermostats.

Mining output fell 0.7 percent last month, dragged down by a 17.7 percent plunge in oil and gas drilling.

Manufacturers have been struggling in recent months because a strong dollar has made their products more expensive in foreign markets.