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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Gain Impacted by Post Hurricane Rebound
by Tom Moeller  December 15, 2017

The Federal Reserve indicated that industrial production rose 0.2% during November (3.4% y/y) following a 1.2% October rise, revised from 0.9%. A 0.3% increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.  The Fed indicated that without a rebound in oil & gas extraction activity from Hurricane Nate, total November industrial production would have been unchanged.

Factory sector output improved 0.2% last month (2.3% y/y) following a 1.4% rise. The increase was led by a 0.6% increase (3.1% y/y) in production of construction supplies that followed a 0.5% gain. Output of business equipment rose 0.5% (5.2% y/y) after surging during each of the prior two months. Information processing equipment production strengthened 0.9% (2.4% y/y) after a 0.5% increase. Consumer goods output declined 0.4% (+2.2% y/y) after a 1.2% jump. Motor vehicle & parts production inched 0.1% higher (0.1% y/y) after surging in each of the prior three months. Computer, video & audio production rose 0.9% (6.3% y/y) after three months of strength, but appliance, furniture & carpeting production fell moderately (-2.0% y/y), as it has for most of the year. In the nondurable goods sector, apparel output fell 0.8% (-9.0% y/y), extending a decades-long decline. Chemical production eased 0.2% (+1.7% y/y) after a 1.1% rise. Paper production fell 1.6% (-6.4% y/y), reversing a 1.0% October rise.

Materials production rose 0.6% (4.1% y/y) after a 1.4% jump, on the strength of a 1.0% increase (3.4% y/y) in durable materials production.

In the special aggregate groupings, selected high-technology product output rose 0.3% (1.6% y/y), after two increases of roughly 1.0%. Computer & peripheral production held steady (23.7% y/y), and semiconductor and related component production gained 0.6% (0.7% y/y). Factory sector production, excluding the auto & high-tech sectors, increased 0.2% (2.6% y/y) following a 1.5% rise.

Capacity utilization rose to 77.1% from 77.0%, its highest level since April 2015. Factory sector utilization strengthened to 76.4%, its highest point since May 2008. Total factory sector capacity rose 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.

Workforce Development in Today's Economy from Fed Governor Lael Brainard is available here.

Industrial Production (SA, % Change) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total Output 0.2 1.2 0.3 3.4 -1.2 -0.7 3.1
Manufacturing 0.2 1.4 0.2 2.3 -0.0 0.1 1.2
    Consumer Goods -0.4 1.2 0.0 2.2 0.6 2.3 0.8
    Business Equipment 0.5 1.2 1.5 5.2 -1.8 -0.9 1.9
    Construction Supplies 0.6 0.5 1.9 3.1 1.3 0.5 3.4
  Materials 0.6 1.4 0.0 4.1 -2.3 -1.4 5.1
Utilities -1.9 2.0 -1.3 2.3 -0.3 -0.7 1.4
Mining 2.0 -0.6 1.7 9.4 -9.1 -4.3 10.7
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.1 77.0 76.2 75.5 75.7 76.8 78.6
 Manufacturing 76.4 76.3 75.2 75.1 75.1 75.5 75.4
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