U.S. Industrial Production, Unemployment Numbers Indicate Possible Recession

Washington, D.C.–U.S. industrial production dropped in April and first-time unemployment benefits increased, adding more speculation that the country may have entered a recession, the Financial Times said Thursday.Industrial output fell 0.7 percent last month. Total manufacturing output declined by 0.8 percent–the largest monthly drop in more than two years. Capacity utilization, U.S. factories’ operating rate, dropped 0.7 percentage points to 79.7 percent–the first time it has fallen below 80 since 2005.Because the weak U.S. dollar has provided incentive for exporters, manufacturing was forecast to buck the current economy; but the reduction in domestic demand has caused lay-offs as employers brace for the economy to decline further.First-time unemployment claims increased to 371,000–a 6,000 gain–last week. The number of workers who remained on unemployment grew by 28,000 to 3,060,000.It was the third week in a row that continued unemployment claims averaged more than 3 million–which some economists label a recessionary level.