US factory production improves in October

WASHINGTON — U.S. factory output rose slightly in October, aided by greater production of automobiles, home electronics and appliances.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that manufacturing production improved 0.2 percent last month, matching the gain in September. The broader industrial production category, which includes mining and utilities, was flat as warmer weather reduced the demand for heating.

Manufacturers have endured a brutal year that crimped sales and hiring. The relatively strong dollar made U.S. goods more expensive overseas, hurting exports, while low energy prices dried up demand for drilling equipment and pipelines. Businesses became cautious about investing in machinery.