US industrial production barely rose in February after two consecutive months of declines, pulled higher by heating demand amid unusually cold weather, according to Federal Reserve data published Monday.
The Fed's monthly production index rose 0.1 percent last month after a 0.3 percent fall in January and a 0.2 percent fall in December.
Utility output jumped 7.3 percent in February, reflecting a surge in heating demand as large areas of the country experienced exceptionally cold weather and heavy snowstorms.
Mining fell 2.5 percent in its second monthly decline, mainly due to drops in oil and gas well drilling, in the face of falling energy prices, and in coal mining.
Manufacturing declined for the third straight month, by 0.2 percent, as automakers curbed output.
"The data now clearly show the manufacturing sector downshifting, with the performance over the last three months the weakest since late-2012," said Aaron Smith of Moody's Analytics.
From one year ago, overall industrial production in February was up a solid 3.5 percent.
Capacity utilization slipped two-tenths of a point to 78.9 percent, below the long-run average of 80.1 percent.