Factories produced more cars, appliances, computers and furniture in February, lifting manufacturing output for the sixth straight month.
The Federal Reserve says overall output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities dipped 0.1 percent last month, the first decline since October. But that reflected a sharp drop in production at gas and electric utilities because of unseasonably warm weather.
Factory production, the biggest slice of industrial activity, rose 0.4 percent. Manufacturing is expected to keep boosting economic growth _ despite the nuclear crisis in Japan.
Overall industrial production has risen by nearly 12 percent since hitting its recession low in June 2009. But it remains about 6 percent below its pre-recession peak in September 2007.