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U.S. factory output dropped in March by the most since 1946 as a rolling wave of shutdowns related to the coronavirus crippled the manufacturing sector.
Production slumped 6.3% from the prior month followed a 0.1% decrease in February, Federal Reserve data showed Wednesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 4.1% decline. Overall industrial production — which also includes output at mines and utilities — also declined by the most since 1946.
Motor vehicle production slumped 28%, the most since January 2009, while output of machinery dropped 5.6%. Mining production fell 2% as a plunge in oil prices curtailed drilling. Utility output decreased 3.9%.
Capacity utilization, which measures the amount of a plant in use, slid to 72.7%, the lowest level since April 2010.
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