US industrial production rose in May, but factories struggle

FILE - In this May 9, 2019, file photo, molten steel to make steel rods moves through the production line at the Gerdau Ameristeel mill in St. Paul, M

FILE - In this May 9, 2019, file photo, molten steel to make steel rods moves through the production line at the Gerdau Ameristeel mill in St. Paul, M

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2018, file photo workers build refrigerators at the Howard McCray's commercial refrigeration manufacturing facility in Philade

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2018, file photo workers build refrigerators at the Howard McCray's commercial refrigeration manufacturing facility in Philade

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial production improved in May, but manufacturers showed weakness despite eking out a slight gain.

The Federal Reserve says industrial output, which includes factories, utilities and mines, rose 0.4% in May, after tumbling 0.4% in April.

Manufacturing output increased just 0.2% last month, not enough to overcome declines in prior months. Factory production is down 1.5% since the end of 2018, an indication of the potential damage from the import taxes the Trump administration has placed on China. During the first quarter of this year, motor vehicle production plunged 14.9%. Furniture output fell 5.8%. Clothing production has dropped 22.6%.

Production at the nation's utilities rose 2.1%. Production at mines, a sector that also covers oil and gas drilling, advanced a modest 0.1%.