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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Steadily Increases
by Tom Moeller  May 16, 2018

The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production increased 0.7% (3.5% y/y) during April following a 0.7% March rise, revised from 0.5%. A 0.5% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Factory sector production improved 0.5% (1.9% y/y) after holding steady in March, revised from 0.1%. Utility output strengthened 1.9% (6.0% y/y) after a 6.1% rise. Mining production improved 1.1% (10.6% y/y) following a 0.8% increase.

Strength in factory sector output reflected a 1.2% increase (1.3% y/y) in the production of business equipment which followed a 0.1% uptick. Industrial & other equipment production improved 1.8% (0.5% y/y) after a 0.9% decline. Production of information processing & related equipment strengthened 1.5% (4.3% y/y) after a 0.6% rise. Transit equipment production eased 0.2% (5.5% y/y) following a 0.4% increase.

Total consumer goods production increased 0.9% (3.4% y/y), about as it did in March. Nondurable consumer goods production increased 1.4% (3.8% y/y) following a 1.1% rise. Energy product output strengthened 3.2% (6.5% y/y) after a 6.5% increase. Apparel production rebounded 1.4% (1.2% y/y) after a 0.3% decrease. Paper product output rose 1.2% (-3.8% y/y) after a 0.9% increase. Chemical product production rose 1.0% (5.2% y/y) after a 0.2% rise. Working the other way, durable consumer goods production declined 0.6% (+2.3% y/y) after a 0.9% increase. Automotive product output declined 1.1% (+3.3% y/y) following two months of strong increase. Computer, video & related production fell 0.9% (+4.5% y/y) after a 1.5% fall. Appliance, furniture & carpeting production gained 0.7% (-1.5% y/y) following a 2.7% weakening.

Construction supplies output improved 0.3% (3.4% y/y) after a 1.0% decline.

Production of materials improved 0.5% (2.5% y/y) after a 0.9% increase. Energy product materials output increased 0.9% (9.9% y/y) after a 1.9% increase. Durable goods materials output rose 0.3% (1.9% y/y) following a 0.1% dip and nondurable goods materials rose 0.2% (0.6% y/y) following a 0.8% gain.

In the special aggregate groupings, production in selected high-technology industries rose 0.7% (6.1% y/y) following a 0.5% gain. Nonenergy production excluding high-tech gained 0.5% (1.5% y/y) following a 0.1% slip. Factory sector production excluding both high-tech and autos improved 0.6% (1.6% y/y) after a 0.2% slip.

Capacity utilization increased to 78.0%, the highest level since March 2015. Factory sector capacity utilization rose to 75.5%. Manuacturing sector capacity increased 0.9% 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) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total Output 0.7 0.7 0.4 3.5 1.6 -2.0 -1.0
Manufacturing 0.5 0.0 1.4 1.9 1.2 -0.8 0.1
    Consumer Goods 0.9 1.0 -0.3 3.4 0.0 0.7 1.5
    Business Equipment 1.2 0.1 0.0 1.3 3.2 -5.3 -2.0
    Construction Supplies 0.3 -1.0 3.0 3.4 2.5 0.9 0.6
  Materials 0.5 0.9 0.8 2.5 2.0 -3.0 -1.5
Utilities 1.9 6.1 -9.6 6.0 -1.3 -0.4 -0.8
Mining 1.1 0.8 2.8 10.6 6.4 -9.7 -3.4
Capacity Utilization (%) 78.0 77.6 77.1 76.2 78.1 75.4 77.3
 Manufacturing 75.8 75.5 75.6 75.1 74.8 74.6 75.8
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