American industry showed signs of a rebound Monday, with the government reporting that the nation's industrial operating rate rose in February and a private survey showing greater optimism among businesses for higher 1987 sales and profits.
The Federal Reserve Board said the industrial operating rate rose a moderate 0.2 of a percentage point in February, to 79.8% of capacity, spurred by a big increase in production of cars and other durable goods.
The rise pushed the overall operating rate to its highest level since February, 1986, when the nation's factories, mines and utilities operated at 80.2% of capacity. The rate was unchanged in January and rose 0.2 points in December.
Analysts said the steep decline of the dollar during the past year and a half, which makes U.S. goods more competitive abroad, was helping manufacturers regain lost markets.