Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Industrial Production Decreased in March

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2020 09:20:00 AM

From the Fed: Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization

Total industrial production fell 5.4 percent in March, as the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic led many factories to suspend operations late in the month. Manufacturing output fell 6.3 percent; most major industries posted decreases, with the largest decline registered by motor vehicles and parts. The decreases for total industrial production and for manufacturing were their largest since January 1946 and February 1946, respectively. The indexes for utilities and mining declined 3.9 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively. At 103.7 percent of its 2012 average, the level of total industrial production in March was 5.5 percent lower than a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 4.3 percentage points to 72.7 percent in March, a rate that is 7.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average.
emphasis added
Capacity Utilization Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows Capacity Utilization. This series is up 10.3 percentage points from the record low set in June 2009 (the series starts in 1967).

Capacity utilization at 72.7% is 7.1% below the average from 1972 to 2017 and below the pre-recession level of 80.8% 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 decreased in March to  103.7. This is 19.1% above the recession low, and 1.5% below the pre-recession peak.

The change in industrial production was below consensus expectations.

Note: The graphs show the 2020 recession starting in March 2020.