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Monday, March 16, 2009

Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization: Cliff Diving

by Calculated Risk on 3/16/2009 09:22:00 AM

Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production fell 1.4% in February, and output in February was 11.2% below February 2008. The capacity utilization rate for total industry fell to 70.9%, matching the historical low set in December 1982.

This is a very sharp decline in industrial output. Industrial production is a key to the depth of the economic slowdown. Up until late last Summer the decline in industrial production had been mild. Now, with the global economy slowing sharply, industrial production and capacity utilization are falling off a cliff.

The significant decline in capacity utilization suggests less investment in non-residential structures for some time.