WASHINGTON -- Apparel production rebounded in March to the highest level since January 1993, rising 2.1 percent against February, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

Output of textiles, meanwhile, increased 0.9 percent against February to the highest reading since June 1993.

Apparel output registered 94 on a 1987 benchmark of 100 while textile production hit 109.2.

Part of the increase in both industries can be traced to comparatively weak performances in February due to winter storms, said David Link, chief economist with the American Textile Manufacturers Institute.

Textile production rose a meager 0.1 percent in February while apparel output fell 0.3 percent.

Storms and the Los Angeles earthquake also contributed to a 0.9 percent drop in apparel making in January, although textile production rose 0.6 percent that month, Link said.

Still, the figures appear to reflect a general upward trend.

"The indicators for the textile industry are doing nicely," Link said. "Orders have been rising for the last four months, so it logically follows that production would be up."

On the apparel front, "sales appear to be starting to pick up. It looks like people have all the durables they could possibly want and are starting to get back to normal purchasing patterns."

Apparel and textile plants also used more capacity in March than in some time, according to the report.

Apparel manufacturing plants utilized 81.1 percent of their capacity, the highest level since January 1990, while textile mills used 91.1 percent, the highest since August 1993.

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