Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Industrial Production up in April, Capacity Utilization increases

by Bill McBride on 5/16/2012 09:33:00 AM

From the Fed: Industrial production and Capacity Utilization

Industrial production increased 1.1 percent in April. Output is now reported to have fallen 0.6 percent in March and to have moved up 0.4 percent in February; previously, industrial production was estimated to have been unchanged in both months. Manufacturing output increased 0.6 percent in April after having decreased 0.5 percent in March. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, which increased nearly 4 percent, manufacturing output moved up 0.3 percent, and output for all but a few major industries increased. Production at mines rose 1.6 percent, and the output of utilities gained 4.5 percent after unseasonably warm weather in the first quarter held down demand for heating. At 97.4 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production for April was 5.2 percent above its year-earlier level. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry moved up to 79.2 percent, a rate 3.1 percentage points above its level from a year earlier but 1.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972--2011) average.
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up 12.4 percentage points from the record low set in June 2009 (the series starts in 1967).

Capacity utilization at 79.2% is still 1.1 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2010 and below the pre-recession levels of 80.6% in December 2007.

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

Industrial ProductionThe second graph shows industrial production since 1967.

Industrial production increased in April to 97.4. March was revised down (so the month-to-month increase was greater than expected), and February was revised up.

The consensus was for a 0.5% increase in Industrial Production in April, and for an increase to 79.0% (from 78.7%) for Capacity Utilization. This was above expectations.

All current manufacturing graphs

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