WASHINGTON — Industrial production increased 0.9% in July, the largest gain in seven months, as production in the utilities sector jumped, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

The record heat across much of the country in July drove demand for air conditioning usage, the Fed said. As a result, utilities’ output increased 2.8% for the month.

Capacity utilization climbed to 77.5% in July, the highest level since August 2008, rising from the upwardly revised 76.9% in June.

Economists expected production to increase 0.4% and for capacity utilization to be 76.9%, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

June industrial production was revised up to a 0.4% gain from the 0.2% rise reported initially.

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