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Reopening Factories Trigger Huge Industrial Rebound

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American industry last month continued to regain ground lost to shutdown measures.

The Federal Reserve reported Friday that industrial production — including output at factories, mines and utilities — climbed 3 percent in July after surging 5.7 percent in June.

Production remains 8.4 percent below its level in February before shutdown measures sowed economic damage throughout the United States.

Factory output rose 3.4 percent last month, bolstered by a 28.3 percent gain in the production of cars, trucks and auto parts.

Mining production ticked up 0.8 percent, snapping five straight months of decreases, and utility output climbed 3.3 percent.

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Industry was running at 70.6 percent capacity, up from its April low of 64.2 percent but below its long-term average of 79.8 percent.

Economic shutdowns hammered American industry this spring. Overall output shrank at a 43.2 percent annual rate from April through June, the biggest drop since the demobilization that followed World War II.

Industrial production has now risen three straight months as the U.S. economy begins to reopen after being locked down in the spring.

The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. productivity rose at a 7.3 percent rate in the second quarter, the largest increase since 2009.

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