WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- U.S. industrial production was unchanged in April compared to March the Federal Reserve said Tuesday, in part due to the earthquake in Japan.
The Fed said manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent after nine consecutive months of increases. The most notable drop in the sector was a decline in vehicle production, which fell to an annual rate of 7.9 million units from a previous rate of 9 million.
Production fell, the Fed said, "mainly because of parts shortages that resulted from the earthquake in Japan," which struck March 11 and disrupted industrial supply lines.
The Fed said with automobile production excluded from the data, manufacturing rose 0.2 percent.
Production at the nation's mines rose 0.8 percent in April and output at utility companies was up 1.7 percent.
Capacity utilization -- measuring production as a percentage of manufacturing, mining and utilities operating at full steam -- fell 0.1 percentage points to 76.9 percent, 3.5 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2010, the Fed said.