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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Holds Steady While Factory Output Declines
by Tom Moeller  June 15, 2017

Industrial production was unchanged last month (2.1% y/y) following a 1.1% April jump, revised from 1.0%. A 0.1% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Manufacturing sector output declined 0.4% (+1.4% y/y) after a 1.1% increase, revised from 1.0%. Utilities output increased 0.4% (0.1% y/y). Mining output improved 1.6% (8.3% y/y), the  fourth month of strong increase this year.

Production of final products held steady (1.6% y/y) after a 1.6% jump. Consumer goods production rose 0.2% (1.2% y/y) after a 1.7% jump. Durable consumer goods output declined 0.7% (+3.8% y/y) after a 2.4% increase as motor vehicle output fell 1.0% (+5.8% y/y) following a 4.1% increase. Appliance, furniture & carpeting production dropped 0.7% (+0.1% y/y) after a 1.7% jump. Computer, video & audio equipment production improved 0.6% (5.7% y/y) after a 0.4% gain. Nondurable consumer goods production gained 0.4% (0.8% y/y) after a 0.1% uptick. The increase reflected a 1.5% surge (-2.4% y/y) in chemical production. Clothing output increased 0.7% (-4.4% y/y) after six consecutive months of decline. Paper product production fell 0.7% (-3.7% y/y) while food output was off 0.3% (+2.9% y/y).

Business equipment production declined 0.7% (1.3% y/y) following a 1.5% jump. Transit equipment production backpedaled 1.2% (-1.5% y/y) after a 3.0% strengthening. Information processing equipment production eased 0.2% (5.5% y/y) following a 1.3% increase. Production of industrial equipment fell 0.6% (+1.0% y/y) following a 0.9% rise.

Materials production improved 0.1% (3.0% y/y). Durable consumer parts production declined 0.9% (+1.8% y/y) while nondurable goods materials output held steady (1.3% y/y). Production of energy materials increased 1.0% (5.0% y/y), about as it did in the prior three months.

Amongst the special aggregate series, high-technology product production held steady (7.0% y/y) following two months of strong gain. Factory output excluding high technology products decreased 0.4% (+1.3% y/y), the second decline in three months. Factory output excluding both high-tech and motor vehicles fell 0.3% (0.9% y/y), following a 0.9% gain.

Capacity utilization eased to 76.6% while factory sector utilization declined to 75.5%. Factory sector capacity rose a steady 0.7% y/y.

Industrial production and capacity data are included in Haver's USECON database, with additional detail in the IP database. The expectations figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Industrial Production (SA, % Change) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Output 0.0 1.1 0.1 2.1 -1.2 -0.7 3.1
Manufacturing -0.4 1.1 -0.8 1.4 -0.0 0.1 1.2
    Consumer Goods 0.2 1.7 0.3 1.2 0.6 2.3 0.8
    Business Equipment -0.7 1.5 -0.3 1.3 -1.8 -0.9 1.9
    Construction Supplies -0.3 0.7 -1.1 3.3 1.3 0.5 3.4
  Materials 0.1 0.9 0.0 3.0 -2.3 -1.4 5.1
Utilities 0.4 0.7 8.2 0.1 -0.3 -0.7 1.4
Mining 1.6 1.5 -0.6 8.3 -9.1 -4.3 10.7
Capacity Utilization (%) 76.6 76.7 75.9 75.6 75.7 76.8 78.6
 Manufacturing 75.5 75.8 75.0 75.0 75.1 75.5 75.4
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