US industrial production expanded last month at the fastest pace since April. It increased by 0.6 percent, which was better than June’s 0.1 percent gain.
Manufacturing was up and there were solid gains in utilities production and mining.
However, a separate report showed factory activity in New York state contracted this month for the first time since last October.
Analysts remain wary: “Given the weakness in many forward looking manufacturing indicators such as the new orders survey and the build up of inventories relative to sales, we expect further slowing,” said Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York.
US inflation was flat for the second straight month in July. That gives the Federal Reserve room for further stimulus measures to tackle stubbornly high unemployment.
The unemployment rate is at an uncomfortably high 8.3 percent. Data on job growth and retail sales have hinted at a pick-up in economic activity early in the third quarter.
“While further monetary easing remains a viable option for the Fed, the timing may be delayed for more dire conditions,” said Michael Woolfolk, a senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.