For the first quarter this year, industrial production moved up at an annual rate of 4.4%, just slightly slower than the prior three months, the Fed said.
Looking ahead, high inventories of manufactured goods could slow production if demand doesn't pick up. Factory stockpiles rose in February from a year earlier, according to a separate Commerce Department report. Factories typically pull back if too many goods have collected on shelves.
Production of long-lasting goods including appliances and furniture boosted the manufacturing gain. However, production of motor vehicles and parts declined 0.8% last month.