A month-long strike at General Motors may have stymied a recovery in auto output last month

Washington (AFP) - US manufacturing recovered in the third quarter after a bruising start to the year in which President Donald Trump’s trade wars put a major dent in factory output, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.

But in the month of September alone, overall American industrial production pulled back as the nationwide strike at General Motors assembly plants and cutbacks in crude oil production weighed on output.

The third-quarter manufacturing rebound undid only some of the recent damage, however, with output still nearly one percent below September of last year.

The Fed’s industrial production index – which measures energy generation, mining and oil production as well as manufacturing – fell 0.4 percent in September, a worse result than economists expected.

The decline appeared larger after an upward revision to August, which posted the largest increase in a year.

Even without the month-long GM strike, in which nearly 50,000 workers walked off the job across the United States, output still would have declined 0.2 percent, according to the Fed.

GM and the United Auto Workers this week announced a tentative deal which could put an end to the work stoppage in coming days.

For the latest quarter, US manufacturing rose 1.1 percent, led higher by computers and electronics, autos and appliances, suggesting that the strike had halted healthy momentum in American auto production.

US manufacturing in September outside the auto and auto parts sectors also declined 0.2 percent compared to August, with weakness apparent in production of metals, machinery and electrical appliances as well.