WASHINGTON — Industrial production posted its largest gain in five months in December, increasing 0.8% as unusually cold weather led to a surge in utility output, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

Capacity utilization rose to 76.0% from  75.4% in November. Economists expected industrial production to rise 0.4% and capacity utilization to reach 75.2%.

“Today’s data confirm the forecast for about 3% growth in the fourth quarter,” said Mesirow Financial’s Diane Swonk.

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