WASHINGTON — American factories' operating rate dropped to 78.2% last month as the third straight monthly decline sent the rate to its lowest level since 1983, the government reported Monday.
Factory use was down across the board--in manufacturing, mining and utility output.
The Federal Reserve Board figures followed Friday's report that overall industrial production also declined for a third straight month in July.
Analysts, while predicting no imminent recession, have said they see no indications that the national economy will rebound soon, although the Reagan Administration is still forecasting a comeback in the second half of this year.
In July, the new report said, overall capacity utilization declined 0.2 percentage points.
Auto Plants Slip 3.4 Points
Auto plant utilization declined 3.4 percentage points--to 76.1% of capacity--nearly wiping out the 4.2-point gain of the previous month.
There were also significant declines in the use of factories involved in producing instruments, petroleum products and rubber and plastic goods.