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U.S. industrial output unchanged in July

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. industrial production was unchanged in July as a decline in manufacturing output and utilities counteracted an uptick in mining activity.

Output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities held steady last month after a revised 0.2 percent increase in June, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.3 percent increase in July.

Manufacturing output declined 0.1 percent last month, falling short of economists' expectation of a 0.3 percent rise, after a revised 0.2 percent increase in June. Manufacturing was bogged down by a 1.7 percent fall in the production of motor vehicles and parts and a 1.0 percent decline in machinery.

Mining output posted a 2.1 percent gain for its fourth consecutive monthly increase, while utilities fell for the fourth consecutive month with a 2.1 percent loss.

Industrial capacity utilization, a measure of how fully firms are deploying their resources, was down slightly at 77.6 percent, a rate that lies 2.6 percentage points below its estimated long-run average. Economists had expected a reading of 77.9 percent.

Officials at the Fed look at the utilization measures as a signal of how much slack remains in the economy, and how much room growth has to run before it becomes inflationary.

(Reporting by Paige Gance Editing by Walker Simon and Paul Simao)

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