Overall industrial production expanded by a surprisingly large 0.6% for February, according to a Federal Reserve report (link opens as PDF) released today.
After production contracted a revised 0.2% for January, analysts had expected a subdued reversal to 0.3% growth.
By major market groups, final products made the most headway, up 0.9% month over month. The group saw its biggest boost from business equipment (+1.3%), but consumer goods also added a substantial 0.8%. The lowest performer was construction, increasing just 0.2% from January to February.
Breaking production down by industries, manufacturing made major moves. Analysts had expected just 0.3% growth, but the actual number came in at 0.8%. Mining managed 0.3% growth, while utilities were down 0.2% to register the only red number..
Capacity utilization also exceeded expectations. Analysts had predicted a 78.6% rate, but capacity clocked in 0.2 percentage points higher at 78.8%.
Looking back over the past 12 months, overall industrial production is up 2.8% comparing February 2014 to February 2013. Despite a tough February, utilities still managed to register the strongest growth at 8.3%.