Eight is not enough! That’s the feeling right now among economy watchers as a new Federal Reserve report indicates that in February United States industrial production was up for an eighth consecutive month.
This despite the fact that a brutal month of winter storms dampened development in what had been a freshly robust manufacturing sector. In total the gains were modest–a 0.1% increase in production, led by mining’s 2% uptick. But the improvements are more impressive when compared to February of 2009–this year’s output topped that month by 1.7%. Foreign demand continues to drive the surge in U.S. production.
All of which leaves economists cautiously optimistic that the overall picture is still brightening. There were good and ample reasons that sectors such as manufacturing and the car industry–thanks for nothing, Toyota!–were down slightly in February, dragging the rest of the scores along with them. Next week, however, spring officially begins (that’s that thing when the streets are no longer dangerously slick and the color of a bleach and soot cocktail–you remember grass, don’t you?), so we won’t be able to use Old Man Winter as an alibi much longer. That means that if manufacturing remains sluggish, we’ll have to look elsewhere for the cause of the crime.