NEWS
05/15/2015 09:17 EDT | Updated 05/15/2016 01:12 EDT

Sharp cuts in oil, gas drilling lower US industrial production for 5th straight month

WASHINGTON - Output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities fell for the fifth straight month as oil and gas drillers continued to cut back.The Federal Reserve says that overall industrial production slid 0.3 per cent in April, after a drop of the same size in March. The figures suggest that weakness in manufacturing and mining remains a large drag on the economy.Oil and gas well drilling activity plunged 14.5 per cent, its fourth straight double-digit decline. Last year's steep decline in oil prices, from about $110 a barrel to $50, has forced energy firms to rapidly scale back operations.Manufacturing output was unchanged after rising 0.3 per cent in March. Utility production fell 1.3 per cent, as Americans used less heat but haven't yet cranked up air conditioning.