By The Associated Press
FIRED-UP: A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production by a seasonally-adjusted 0.8 percent last month after falling 0.3 percent in January. Autos and auto parts production increased 3.6 percent.
BUSY BEES: Factories are running at nearly full speed to keep up with demand. Manufacturers are now using 78.3 percent of their capacity, the highest since the recession began in December 2007. But running near full capacity could lead to higher prices for manufactured goods and could push up inflation.
BROADER READING: Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, rose 0.7 percent in February, the most in three months. Utility output jumped 1.6 percent while mining output, which covers oil and gas drilling, fell 0.3 percent.