Factory output soared in December, lifting economy

WASHINGTON (AP) ? U.S. factory output surged in December by the most in year. Stronger demand for business equipment, vehicles and energy offered the most visible evidence that manufacturing has roared back from the depths of the recession.

The Federal Reserve says manufacturing increased 0.9 percent in December, the most since December 2010. A larger portion of U.S. factories were in operation.

The overall output of the nation’s factories, mines and utilities grew 0.4 percent in December. Warm weather dampened demand for energy produced by utilities.

Industrial output is less than 5 percent below its pre-recession peak, reached in September 2007. It has increased more than 14 percent since hitting a recession low in June 2009.