US industrial output rose in July at its fastest pace in seven months, as strong auto production gave evidence some factories were shaking off the disruptions caused by Japan's March earthquake.
Industrial output rose 0.9 % last month, more than twice June's 0.4 % gain, according to Federal Reserve data released on Tuesday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 % increase in July output.
Tuesday's report shows economic growth started the second half of the year on better footing than many analysts expected.
Japan's earthquake disrupted supply chains around the world and sent US auto production tumbling in April.
In July, manufacturing increased 0.6 % during the month, with an index for motor vehicles and parts surging 5.2 %.
Utilities also provided a boost to industrial production as extreme heat led Americans to crank up their air conditioning. Output at utilities rose 2.8 % during the month, more than three times the rate of growth registered in June.
Total industrial output in April was revised lower, while estimates for output in both May and June were revised upward.
Capacity utilization, which gauges firms' performance relative to their full potential, rose to 77.5 % in the highest since August 2008.