U.S. industrial production is continuing its upward trend as the Federal Reserve yesterday reported a 0.7% output increase in February— this follows a 0.8% January increase. Manufacturing is also shown a 1% gain in production in February.

According to the February production report, all the major market groups have seen overall gains. Consumer goods and construction rose 0.7%, while business equipment jumped 1.1%.

This trend indicates that businesses are getting increasingly optimistic about their bottom-line, Mike Behnke, S.J. Consulting analyst told Fleet Owner.

“I see a lot of underlying strength in the economy— what we are seeing is businesses investing in itself,” Behnke said.

Construction will continue to show signs of growth as consumers take advantage of low interest rates.

“Mortgage rates are at a new low since last July— that will continue to spur construction and boost the economy in general,” Behnke said.

On the trucking side assemblies have risen 1.1% overall. Light trucks have increased to 7,770,000 units assembled to see a 1.2% rise. Medium and heavy trucks dropped 3.1% to 310,000 units but still retains a healthy 19% lead over the 2003 average of 260,000 units.