WASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production shot up 0.6% in October, the best gain in three months, with a surge in auto production accounting for more than half the strength, the government reported Monday.
The Reagan Administration hailed the advance as a reassuring sign that the economy remains on track, but many private analysts discounted the figure, contending that it reflected business sentiment before the stock market collapse.
The Federal Reserve said the 0.6% increase followed no change in September and a modest 0.3% gain in August. Industrial production had shot up 1.2% in July.
"This steady increase in industrial production bodes well for the underlying strength of the economy and for future growth," said White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater.
Private economists agreed that the report showed a generally healthy economy before the stock market crash Oct. 19. But they said it remained to be seen whether businesses would cutback on production out of concern that jittery consumers will be less inclined to buy big-ticket items.