Icy weather sends industrial production down 2.2% last month

WASHINGTON — Severe winter weather pushed industrial production down a sharp 2.2% in February, reflecting a big decline in factory output.

The Federal Reserve reported today that the sharp fall in industrial output interrupted a string of positive gains beginning in October as U.S. factories were recovering from the pandemic-induced recession of last spring.

The drop in February reflected a 3.1% fall in manufacturing and a 5.4% decline in mining, a category that includes oil and gas production. The only sector showing an increase last month was utilities, where output rose by 7.4% as power production increased to meet heating needs during the severe winter weather that hit much of the country in mid-February.

The weather damage disrupted the Texas power grid, resulting in millions of people going without electricity for an extended period of time.