American factory production rose for the fourth straight month and overall industrial output closed out the strongest quarter in over seven years as the manufacturing resurgence is primed to continue into 2018.
Manufacturing output climbed 0.1 percent in December according to the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, and industrial production jumped 0.9 percent in the best three month performance since May 2010. Economists in the Reuters survey had forecast a 0.3 percent gain in manufacturing and 0.4 percent improvement in industrial production which includes mining, petroleum and utilities.
Capacity utilization, the percentage of the total industrial plant in operation rose to 77.9 percent from 77.2 percent in November; 77.3 percent had been predicted. It was the highest since an equal score in February 2015.
Factory output was running at a 7 percent annualized increase in the fourth quarter, the best sustained expansion since 2010, in a sector that many economists have said was fated to permanent decline. Manufacturing production rose 1.3 percent in 2017, the most robust 12 month score in five years.
Consumer optimism is near a two decade high. Soaring consumption and the corresponding busness investment combined with rising overseas demand for American products are set to drive the GDP to the first three quarters of 3 percent plus growth in almost 20 years.
The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.0 percent annualized rate in the second quartr of 2017, 3.3 percent in the third and is predicted by the Atlanta Fed to grow 3.3 percent in final three months of the year.
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U.S. GDP (annualized)