Industrial production falls again amid global slump

If you could pick just one statistic to sum up the current economic condition of the United States, what indicator would it be? For some, it might be the unemployment rate; for others, corporate earnings.

Another candidate would have to be industrial production, a reliable indicator of the nation's overall productive capacity and strength. And lately, there hasn't been much strength: industrial production fell for the fourth straight month in February, down 1.4 percent, as declining exports and auto sector cutbacks hurt factory output, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced Monday.