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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization Increase in August

by Calculated Risk on 9/16/2009 09:15:00 AM

The Federal Reserve reported:

Industrial output rose 0.8 percent in August, following an upwardly revised increase of 1.0 percent in July. Production in manufacturing expanded 0.6 percent in August, and the index excluding motor vehicles and parts increased 0.4 percent. The gain in July for manufacturing was revised up 0.4 percentage point, to 1.4 percent; in addition, factory output for April through June is now somewhat less weak than reported previously. Production at mines moved up 0.5 percent in August. The output of utilities gained 1.9 percent, as temperatures swung from an unseasonably mild July to a slightly warmer-than-usual August. At 97.4 percent of its 2002 average, total industrial production was 10.7 percent below its level of a year earlier. In August, the capacity utilization rate for total industry advanced to 69.6 percent, a level 11.3 percentage points below its average for the period 1972 through 2008.
emphasis added
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series has increased for two straight months, and 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.

Even excluding motor vehicles and parts, industrial production increased 0.4% in August. This suggests that the official recession ended sometime this Summer.