Foul Weather Slows U.S. Economy

Harsh winter weather hurt U.S. factory output in January, slowing production of cars, appliances and other items.

Friday's report from the Federal Reserve says production was off eight-tenths of a percent last month, the first drop since July and steepest decline in several years.

A separate study by the University of Michigan said a reading of consumer sentiment in early February was little changed from the prior month.

Consumers' optimism about their economic future was tempered by worries about the current economic situation.

Consumer demand drives about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, so investors and economists watch consumer sentiments closely.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

VOA News / Feb. 17, 2014 08:07 KST