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Factory Output Rose 0.4 Percent In May; Made Up Most Of April's Loss

There was a 0.4 percent increase in output at U.S. manufacturers last month vs. April, the Federal Reserve just reported. That follows a 0.5 percent decline in April from March.

For the 12 months ending May 31, the Fed says, factory output was up 3.7 percent.

Bloomberg News notes that "manufacturing may pick up in coming months as disruptions of parts supplies ease after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Overseas demand and business spending may also spur sales of U.S.-made equipment and technology."

Overall, according to the Fed, output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.1 percent in May from April. The gain at factories was mostly offset by a 2.8 percent decline in output at utilities. Relatively mild spring weather gets the credit for that drop.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.