US factory output falls 0.4 percent in April

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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories cut back sharply on production in April, as auto companies cranked out fewer cars and most other industries reduced output.

The Federal Reserve says manufacturing output dropped 0.4 percent in April from March. It was the third decline in four months and the biggest since October.

Production of autos and auto parts fell 1.3 percent in April. The decline is likely temporary because automakers are reporting stronger sales.

Overall industrial production, which also includes output at utilities and mines, dropped 0.5 percent in April, the biggest decline since August. Utility output plunged 3.7 percent, as power output returned to more normal levels after an unusually cold March.

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