The strain on U.S. industrial capacity eased in September for the first time in seven months as utilities scaled back after the summer heat wave, the government said today.
Utility operating rates fell from 83.6% in August to 79.9% last month, while electric utilities fell from 88.1% to 83.5%, the Federal Reserve Board said. But the operating rate at manufacturing plants held steady at 83.8%, the same as August and down slightly from 83.9% in July. Robert Dederick, an economist with Northern Trust Co. in Chicago, said that meant “the pressure on resources hasn’t worsened . . . and therefore any easing of inflation pressures is unlikely.”