WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. factory output rose for the sixth consecutive month in July, led by a jump in the production of motor vehicles, furniture, textiles and metals.<br />
Manufacturing production rose 1 percent in July compared with the prior month, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Factory output in June was revised slightly higher to a 0.3 percent increase. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has risen 4.9 percent.<br />
Demand for autos surged 10.1 percent last month, the largest increase since July 2009. The broader increase in manufacturing points to stronger growth across the economy, suggesting that manufacturers expect the pace of business investment and consumer spending to improve in the coming months.<br />
"Manufacturing will continue to add to the recovery throughout 2014 and into 2015," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.