The nation's industrial output continued to rise at a moderate pace last month, the government reported yesterday - indicating the economy is moving along respectably, without signs of serious weakness.
New figures published by the Federal Reserve Board showed production of factories, mines and utilities climbed 0.5 per cent in July, the same as the revised estimates for May and June.
The statistics appeared to confirm assessments by forecasters that the economy is performing respectably after slowing from its second-quarter pace. There were no signs of any significant deterioration.
The index had jumped by 1.2 per cent in March and 1.6 per cent in April, but those were interpreted as a bounceback from the effects of last winter's bad weather and coal strike.
The July increase was spread throughout virtually every major sector of the economy. Output of consumer goods rose 0.3 per cent, reversing modest declines posted in the two previous months.
Production of business equipment climbed a robust 0.9 percent, continuing the strength that has prevailed in that area. Output of construction supplies rose 0.7 per cent, while that of intermediate products jumped 0.3 per cent.
Analysts said the increase in output of nondurables may have been held down slightly as a result of the recent West Coast paper industry strike, but the difference was not enough to affect the overall index.
The increases for May and June were revised upward to take account of late-breaking data. Previously, the board had reported the May rise as 0.2 percent and the June increase as 0.3 percent.
Yesterday's figures brought overall production levels to 4.8 percent above their mark of a year ago. The index now stands at 145.3 percent of its 1967 average. The statistics constitute a key economic indicator.