WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. industrial production fell 0.6 percent in January, the first decline in eight months, the U.S. Federal Reserve reported Friday.
Manufacturing production alone dropped 0.9 percent in January, largely driven by a slump in autos. Excluding autos, factory output fell 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, mining and utility production in the month edged up 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
Total industrial production in January was 3.8 percent higher than it was a year earlier, the Fed said.
Data for December was revised down to a 0.1 percent gain from the previous estimate of 0.3 percent growth.
Analysts said the new data showed that the manufacturing sector was facing headwinds. Coupled with falling retail sales and restrained inflation, the declining industrial production might help justify the Fed's recent pledge to be more "patient" about future rate hikes.
After concluding its first policy meeting this year on Jan. 30, the Fed left interest rates unchanged as expected, citing "some cross-currents" and "conflicting signals" about the generally positive economic outlook.