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Factory use is down; so is rate of decline

Despite an improvement in the auto industry, the nation's factories operated at only 67.3 percent of capacity in December, the lowest level since World War II, the Federal Reserve Board said Jan. 17. For 1982, the average operating rate was 69.8 percent of capacity, down from 78.5 percent in 1981.

But the decline in the factory operating rate from November was only a tenth of a percentage point, the smallest contraction in five months and another sign that the worst of the recession may be over for manufacturing.

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