Output at U.S. auto manufacturers fell unexpectedly in March by the most since August of last year, according to Federal Reserve data that was released on Tuesday.
According to the data, the decline in output stems from a slow recovery at factories, as production only rose 0.8 percent last month from a year earlier. Factory production declined 0.4 percent, despite a 0.3 percent rise in February.
Economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics claimed that despite the decline, the data shows “a marked improvement on last year when manufacturing output all but stalled due to the weakness of global demand and the dollar’s earlier rapid appreciation in 2015.”
Analysts suggest that the decline in manufacturing reflects a decline in auto sales to consumers. Forecasters anticipated a 0.1 percent increase in manufacturing output in March, likely in response to the 2.7 percent annual rate at which it rose in the first quarter.
Despite the decline in manufacturing output, overall industry production rose 0.5 percent, likely as the result of an 8.6 percent increase in utilities generation caused be unusually warm weather in the month of February. Motor vehicle production fell three percent, which is the most since May 2016.
According to the data, motor vehicle production fell three percent, which is the most since May 2016.