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GM strike pushes industrial production down 0.8% last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strike at General Motors pushed U.S. manufacturing production lower in October, adding to the troubles confronting American industry. Manufacturing output tumbled 0.6% last month, the Federal Reserve said Friday, largely because production of cars and auto parts plunged 7.1% amid the GM strike. The drop in factory production was the biggest since April. The GM strike ended late in October.

Overall industrial production -- which includes factories, utilities and mines -- fell 0.8%, the biggest drop since May 2018. Industrial output is down 1.1% from October 2018. The drops were bigger than economists had expected.

American manufacturing is also contending with the fallout from President Donald Trump’s trade wars, which have raised costs for some factories and created uncertainty for business. Excluding auto output, industrial production still fell 0.5% and manufacturing output slipped 0.1%.

Mining production slid 0.7%, as oil and gas drilling fell last month, but is up 2.7% over the past year. Utility production fell 2.6% as Americans used less electricity. U.S. factories were using 74.7% of their capacity in October, lowest since September 2017, and is down 4.1% since October 2018.

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