Industrial production increased 0.5% in March after moving up 0.1% in February. The increase in March was more than accounted for by a jump of 8.6% in the output of utilities—the largest in the history of the index—as the demand for heating returned to seasonal norms after being suppressed by unusually warm weather in February. Manufacturing output fell 0.4% in March.
For the first quarter as a whole, industrial production rose at an annual rate of 1.5%. At 104.1% of its 2012 average, total industrial production in March was 1.5% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4% in March to 76.1%, a rate that is 3.8% below its long-run (1972–2016) average.