U.S. factories increased output in November for the fourth straight month, led by a surge in auto production. The gains show manufacturing is strengthening and could help boost economic growth.
The Federal Reserve says factory production rose 0.6 percent in November after a 0.5 percent gain in October. Production of motor vehicles and parts rose 3.4 percent, rebounding from a 1.3 percent decline in October.
Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, increased 1.1 percent in November. That's also the fourth straight gain. Colder-than-average temperatures drove greater utility production.
Overall production for the first time surpassed the pre-recession peak set in December 2007, the month the Great Recession began. Output is now 21 percent above its recession low hit in June 2009, the month the downturn ended.