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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Industrial production, which has been bearing the brunt of the economic slowdown, fell in April by 0.3 percent, the seventh straight monthly decline, the Federal Reserve reported Monday.

The drop in output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities, followed a 0.1 percent drop in March, according to revised figures. That was significantly weaker than the 0.4 percent rise the Fed previously reported.

The report provides further evidence that the economy continued to slow into the spring. The decline in industrial output was bigger than many analysts were predicting; they expected a 0.2 percent drop.

April's weakness in industrial production was led by a 1 percent decline in output at gas and electric utilities. That followed a 0.4 percent rise in March.

At factories, production fell by 0.3 percent in April and has shrunk nearly 3.5 percent since its recent peak in September 2000, the Fed said. Production at mines, however, rose by 0.6 percent, on top of a 1.1 percent rise.