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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Sept. Industrial Production Beats Estimates

Industrial production in September rose 0.7 percent compared with 1.2 percent in August, a month-to-month falloff, but still was much higher than forecasters expected.

Capacity utilization -- what percentage of the factory floor was actually working -- ticked up slightly to just more than 70 percent, the Federal Reserve said, its highest level in seven months.

Industrial production has been declining steadily during this recession as businesses work to burn down their inventory instead of order new product. When industrial production starts to tick up, it will be a sign of recovery.

The weak U.S. dollar will help industrial production, as it makes U.S. products cheaper to buy overseas.

In other news this morning, troubled Bank of America reported a larger-than-expected third-quarter loss and industrial giant GE failed to wow Wall Street with its report.

Strike that: GE's industrial businesses -- jet engines, washing machines, wind turbines, that sort of thing -- actually did well. It was GE's finance division -- essentially a bank with all the troubles of a bank -- pulled down the quarterly earnings.

Bank of America is the country's largest retail bank, which means it is exposed to all the problems consumers have experienced during this recession, which began in December 2007: failed mortgages, defaults on commercial loans and credit cards and so on.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  October 16, 2009; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, GE, General Electric, industrial production  
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