Thursday, April 15, 2010

Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization increase in March

by Bill McBride on 4/15/2010 09:39:00 AM

From the Fed: Industrial production and Capacity Utilization

Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in March and increased at an annual rate of 7.8 percent in the first quarter. Manufacturing output rose 0.9 percent in March, led by widespread gains among durable goods industries. Factory production was likely held down in February by the winter storms but nonetheless rose at an annual rate of 6.6 percent for the first quarter as a whole. The output of mines increased 2.3 percent in March. Utilities output dropped 6.4 percent; after a relatively cold February, demand for heating fell in March as temperatures climbed to above-normal levels. At 101.6 percent of its 2002 average, industrial output in March was 4.0 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for total industry advanced 0.2 percentage point to 73.2 percent, a rate 7.4 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009, but 3.7 percentage points above the rate from a year earlier.
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up 7.2% from the record low set in June 2009 (the series starts in 1967).

Capacity utilization at 73.2% is still far below normal - and 9.1% below the the pre-recession levels of 80.5% in November 2007.

Note: y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

Also - this is the highest level for industrial production since Dec 2008, but production is still 9.6% below the pre-recession levels at the end of 2007.