Hurricane Harvey Causes U.S. Industrial Production to Plunge

(CN) — Hurricane Harvey didn’t just batter Houston and the Gulf Coast in August, it also caused U.S. industrial output the plunge 0.9 percent, the sharpest decline in eight years, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

Harvey caused extensive damage to companies and their assets in the oil, chemical and plastics industries, the Fed said.

Manufacturing production, which had been a bright spot in the economy due to a falling dollar, which makes U.S. goods cheaper overseas, fell 0.3 percent in August.

Without Harvey, manufacturing production actually would have increased by about 0.5 percent, according to the Fed.

Mining production fell 0.8 percent last month as Harvey temporarily shut down the drilling of oil and natural gas and refining operations.

And the output of utilities dropped 5.5 percent, as unseasonably mild temperatures, particularly on the East Coast, reduced the demand for air conditioning.

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