Friday, August 14, 2009

Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization Increase in July

by Calculated Risk on 8/14/2009 09:15:00 AM

The Federal Reserve reported:

Industrial production increased 0.5 percent in July. Aside from a hurricane-related rebound in October 2008, the gain in July marked the first monthly increase since December 2007. Manufacturing output advanced 1.0 percent in July; most of the increase was due to a jump in motor vehicle assemblies from an annual rate of 4.1 million units in June to 5.9 million units in July. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing production edged up 0.2 percent. The output of utilities fell 2.4 percent, reflecting unseasonably mild temperatures in July, and the output of mines increased 0.8 percent. At 96.0 percent of its 2002 average, total industrial production was 13.1 percent below its level of a year earlier. In July, the capacity utilization rate for total industry edged up to 68.5 percent, a level 12.4 percentage points below its 1972-2008 average.
emphasis added
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up slightly from the record low set in June (the series starts in 1967). Capacity Utilization had decreased in 17 of the previous 18 months.

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

Much of the increase in industrial production was auto related. Also, there is little reason for investment in new production facilities until capacity utilization recovers.