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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output grew for the fifth straight month, adding to evidence thatmanufacturing remains an engine of economic growth.

The Federal Reserve says output by the nation's factories, utilities and mines increased 0.4 percent in November, after falling 0.2 percent in October.

Factories produced 0.3 percent more goods for consumers and businesses, after boosting output by the same amount a month earlier. The strongest factory gains came from big-ticket items expected to last for several years. Output by auto factories fell unexpectedly.

Production by utilities rose 1.9 percent last month, while mines produced 0.1 percent less.

Manufacturing has been a bright spot through most of the recovery. November's report confirms that the sector remains strong.

In this Nov. 30, 2010 photo, a battery pack is shown prior to being installed in a Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich. U.S. factory output grew for the fifth straight month, adding to evidence that manufacturing remains an engine of economic growth.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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