Industrial production in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of September, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve on Friday.
The Fed said industrial production fell by 0.6 percent in September after rising by 0.4 percent in August. The drop surprised economists, who had expected production to increase by 0.5 percent.
Production declined for the first time in five months but has still recovered more than half of its February to April decline, although it remains 7.1 percent below its pre-pandemic February level.
The unexpected decrease in production in September was partly due to a 5.6 percent nosedive in utilities output, which came as demand for air conditioning fell by more than usual.
The report also showed manufacturing output dipped by 0.3 percent in September after jumping by 1.2 percent in August.
On the other hand, the Fed said mining output surged up by 1.7 percent in September after tumbling by 2.4 percent in the previous month.
"Goods-producing industries have recovered faster than services, but activity won't be immune from softening as the broad economic recovery loses steam," said Oren Klachkin, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.
He added, "With lawmakers unlikely to deliver significant fiscal stimulus and the Covid-19 crisis far from resolved both domestically and abroad, we believe industrial activity will face stiffer headwinds in the months ahead."
Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased to 71.5 percent in September after rising to 72.0 percent in August.
The pullback came as capacity utilization in the utilities sector plunged to 70.4 percent in September from 74.7 in August.
Capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector edged down to 70.5 percent from 70.7 percent, while capacity utilization in the mining sector rose to 77.6 percent from 76.1 percent.