The Fed said production increased 0.4 percent after a revised 0.1 percent decline in August. Firms operated at 74.7 percent of capacity, their fastest pace since March.
In a sign the manufacturing sector is rebounding, factory production --- which makes up more than four-fifths of total industrial output -- rose by 0.7 percent, the largest gain since April 2000. Much of that jump could be traced to a hefty 6.6 percent increase in production of autos and parts.
The Labor Department said first-time filings for state unemployment aid fell 4,000 last week to 384,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said. The number was broadly in line with analysts' expectations that claims would be 388,000.
It was the second week in a row that claims came in under 400,000. Economists say claims above 400,000 suggest a deteriorating jobs market.
While the report suggested layoffs are slowing, it also showed unemployed workers are still having a tough time finding new jobs. For the week ended Oct. 4, the number of Americans claiming benefits after filing an initial claim climbed 58,000 to 3.67 million.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.