The Federal Reserve reported that factory output increased 1.1 percent last month, which is the biggest increase since August 2009. Overall output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 1.0 percent last month. That followed a decline of 0.1 percent in June, the first drop in more than a year. Construction of new homes and apartments rose 1.7 percent last month, driven by a 32.6 percent surge in apartment and condominium construction, a small fraction of the market.
Single-family home construction, representing 80 percent of the market, slid 4.2 percent. Requests for building permits, a sign of future activity, decreased 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted 565,000, the slowest pace since May 2009, the Commerce Department said.
In a separate Indicator, the Labor Department announced that wholesale prices increased in July as the cost of food, cars and light trucks increased. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, main producer prices rose 0.3 percent in July, the ninth straight increase. Businesses are hiring fewer workers as the unemployment rate for July was 9.5 percent with no expectation for a decrease.