Overall industrial production expanded 0.6% for September, according to a Federal Reserve report (link opens as PDF) released today.
Analysts had expected growth similar to August's 0.4% improvement, and were pleasantly surprised by September's gain.
By major market groups, final products made the largest 0.9% gain, boosted higher by a 1.2% gain in business equipment. Nonindustrial supplies productivity increased 0.7%, while materials lagged with a 0.3% improvement.
Breaking production down by industries, September's growth looks less widespread. While analysts had expected a 0.3% gain for manufacturing, the industry edged up just 0.1%. Utilities jumped a massive 4.4%, which market watchers attribute to the weather, not a steady boost in demand.
Overall capacity utilization crept up 0.4 percentage points to 78.3% due primarily to a 3.4-point spike for utilities. Mining fell 0.1 points to 90%, while manufacturing stayed steady at 76.1%.