Industrial Production Up 0.9% in January

Production amid the major industrial sectors rose 0.9% last month, according to Federal Reserve statistics.
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WASHINGTON (TheStreet) -- The nation's miners, factory and utility workers continued to pump out more goods in January, as government statistics showed industrial production expanded at a slightly better pace compared to the prior month.

Federal Reserve

statistics released Wednesday showed production amid the major industrial sectors rose 0.9% last month. The jump outpaced the 0.7% uptick expected by surveyed Street analysts, according to figures provided by Briefing.com, as well as December's upwardly revised 0.7% advance.

The report went on to show manufacturing production, in particular, rose 1% last month. Both utility and mining output tracked higher by 0.7% each.

Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial, cited cold weather as a primary driver for the recent upswing in utilities, including the 6.3% rise in December.

"Utilities account for about 12% of industrial production," he wrote in a note, "and so will be a drag on headline IP once the weather reverts to seasonal norms."

Consumer goods production jumped 1.1%, helped by a surge in cars and clothing, while business equipment output improved 0.9%.

Defense and space equipment also rose 1.5% in January after slumping 0.6% in December.

Factory utilization improved last month, as the usage rate came in line with expectations by improving to 72.6%.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 27 points, or 0.3%, at 10,296 in the morning. The blue-chip average was being helped by major manufacturing names

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

and

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

, which rose 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively, as well as home improvement retailer ,

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

, which was up 1.8%.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York