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US factory output falls 0.4 percent in April

WASHINGTON — US manufacturers cut back on production in April, as auto companies cranked out fewer cars, factories made fewer consumer goods, and most other industries reduced output. The weakness suggests economic growth may be slowing.

The Federal Reserve said that factory output fell 0.4 percent in April, the third decline in four months.

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Production of autos and auto parts fell 1.3 percent in April. The drop is probably temporary, because automakers are reporting stronger sales.

Still, the declines were broad-based. Factories produced fewer machines, electrical equipment, clothes, appliances, furniture, and primary metals. Manufacturers made more computers and electronic products, among the few areas that showed gains.

Factories are making fewer goods in part because of a weaker global economy, which has reduced demand for US exports.

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