Industrial output rose 0.4 percent in November, its biggest gain since July and the latest sign of a firmer end to the year for the world's largest economy, a report showed on Wednesday.
The increase was above a median forecast of 0.3 percent in a Reuters poll, and followed a downward revision of October's reading from flat to a drop of 0.2 percent.
Output rose 5.4 percent compared to one year earlier, according to the Federal Reserve data. A spike in utilities partly offset a sharp 6.0 percent decline in the production of motor vehicles and parts.
Capacity use, a measure of how fully firms are using their resources, rose to 75.2 in November from a revised 74.9 in October, but remained substantially below its long term average.
Officials at the U.S. central bank tend to look at utilization measures as a signal of how much slack remains in the economy -- how much room growth has to run before it becomes inflationary.
(Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)