Industrial production in the U.S. increased by 0.4% last month, marking an annual rate of increase of 5% for the quarter, while manufacturing output decreased by 0.1% in March but increased at an annual rate of 5.3% for the quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. "We have seen this pattern for the last couple of years, where production surges in the first quarter and then is followed by a lull as excessive inventories adjust," MAPI chief economist Dan Meckstroth said. "Consumers are income-constrained (from slow wage growth and higher payroll taxes), businesses are cautious, exports are weak, and government is in full austerity mode. It still looks like only modest growth is possible in 2013," he added.

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