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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Industrial Production, Capacity Utilization decline in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/17/2011 09:15:00 AM

From the Fed: Industrial production and Capacity Utilization

Industrial production declined 0.1 percent in February after having risen 0.3 percent in January; output in January was previously estimated to have edged down 0.1 percent. Manufacturing output increased 0.4 percent in February, and the gain in January was revised up to 0.9 percent. Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines rose 0.8 percent in February, which more than reversed its decline in January. However, the output of utilities fell 4.5 percent--the drop reflected unseasonably warm weather in February, which reduced the demand for heating after two months of unseasonably cold temperatures. At 95.5 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production was 5.6 percent above its year-earlier level. The capacity utilization rate for total industry edged down 0.1 percentage point to 76.3 percent, a rate 4.2 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2010.
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up 8.1 percentage points from the record low set in June 2009 (the series starts in 1967).

Capacity utilization at 76.3% is still far below normal - and well below the pre-recession levels of 81.2% in November 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 decreased in February to 95.5, however January was revised up from 95.1 to 95.6. The decline was due to warmer weather in February (less production at utilities) and the upward revision to the January data.

Production is still 5.2% below the pre-recession levels at the end of 2007.

The consensus was for a 0.6% increase in Industrial Production in February, and an increase to 76.5% (from 76.1%) for Capacity Utilization. Even including the January revisions, this was still below consensus.