Updated: July 17, 2012 8:40AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production rose in June as factories made more cars, machines and business equipment. Factory output recovered to levels reached earlier this spring but appears to be leveling off.
The Federal Reserve says factory output rose 0.7 percent last month, after falling by the same amount in May. Factories produced more machines and vehicles used by businesses. Auto production rebounded after its first decline of the year.
Factories are a crucial contributor to economic expansion. Their strong results in June follow a period of shaky growth. Factory output fell in two of the past four months. The Fed says factory growth in the second quarter slowed to an annual rate of 1.4 percent, after leaping 9.8 percent in the first quarter.
Hiring by manufacturers also slowed in recent months.