U.S. industrial production rose for a second consecutive month in August, Federal Reserve data showed on Wednesday, providing another piece of evidence that the economic recovery was under way.

The 0.8 percent increase was a touch stronger than the 0.6 percent advance that economists polled by Reuters had expected. The report also showed July's gain was revised up to 1 percent from the originally reported 0.5 percent.

Many economists think economic growth resumed in the third quarter, which would be the first positive reading since the second quarter of 2008.

An increase in auto manufacturing helped lift production in August. The cash for clunkers government program that provided incentives to buy new cars spurred a jump in auto sales, and many automakers ramped up production as a result.

The output of utilities gained 1.9 percent as temperatures swung from an unseasonably mild July to a slightly warmer-than-usual August, the Fed said.

The capacity utilization rate, a measure of slack in the economy, edged up to 69.6 percent, although that was still 11.3 percentage points below the average from 1972 through 2008.

(Reporting by Emily Kaiser, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)