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US manufacturing rises for 2nd month in row thanks to strong auto production

Output at US factories grew for the second month in a row in January, reflecting gains in demand for automobiles, while December’s growth figure was revised upwards to 1.5 percent.

Us auto sales 2012 02 15Enlarge
A 6.8% leap in auto production – up from a 3.8% increase in December – gave manufacturing a big lift, coinciding with the best growth in car sales in more than two years. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

US manufacturing grew for the second month in a row in January according to figures released by the Federal Reserve today, reflecting gains in demand for automobiles.

Output at US factories grow 0.7 percent in January, Bloomberg reported, after December’s growth figure was revised upwards to 1.5 percent – the largest in five years.

A 6.8% leap in auto production – up from a 3.8% increase in December – gave manufacturing a big lift, according to the BBC, coinciding with the best growth in car sales in more than two years.

More from GlobalPost: Auto industry sales highest since 2008

However total industrial production, which includes utilities and mining, was unchanged last month, as the fourth-warmest January on record saw utilities output drop 2.5 percent, with mining production falling 1.8 percent.

Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse quoted by the Associated Press, said that December and January represented the best two months of growth for US manufacturing since summer 2009, when the recession ended.

Analysts say the figures are further evidence that the US economy is picking up.

“Some encouragement can be taken from the sharp upward revision to the performance in December, which underscores the turnaround in US economic fortunes in recent months,” said Millan Mulraine, from TD Securities in New York, according to the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: US retail sales rise less than expected in January

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120215/us-manufacturing-rises-2nd-month-row-auto-sales