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The Fed's Own Data Show U.S. Manufacturers Don't Share Its Optimism

Factories are cutting expansion plans just as the Fed sees stronger growth
A welder in Portland, Oregon, on Feb. 18, 2015.

A welder in Portland, Oregon, on Feb. 18, 2015.

Photographer: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg

Tucked away in last week's report on industrial production from the Federal Reserve was an important piece of news: Manufacturers, miners and utility companies don't seem as optimistic as monetary policy makers are that 2015 will be a markedly better year for the economy.

Industrial producers are scaling back their expansion plans for this year even as Fed officials forecast faster economic growth. Since less investment is often interpreted as diminishing confidence for future demand, the two outlooks are a little hard to square.