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Economy in Brief

Industrial Production Up But Gains Slow
by Tom Moeller December 14, 2004

Industrial production rose 0.3% in November following a downwardly revised 0.6% rise the prior month. Consensus expectations had been for a 0.2% rise.

Production in the factory sector rose 0.3% (4.7% y/y). Slower increases recently pulled the three month gain in factory sector production down to 2.0% (AR) versus this year's peak of 8.6% in April. And the slowdown has been broad based. Factory sector output excluding motor vehicles & high tech rose 0.3% in November and the three month growth rate fell to 0.8%.

Though November output in the high tech sector rose a firm 1.1%, the three month growth rate fell to 9.0% versus the peak of 38.2% in August 2003. Excluding high tech, factory output rose 0.3% last month and the three month growth rate fell to 1.2% from this year's peak of 8.2%.

Motor vehicles output fell 0.7% in November but output of appliances, furniture & carpeting rose 1.2% (-0.8% y/y). Clothing output was unchanged m/m and down 2.6% y/y)

Total capacity utilization rose to 77.6% from a downwardly revised October. Capacity grew 1.6% y/y.

"Ringing In the New Year with an Investment Bust?" from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Production & Capacity Nov Oct Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Industrial Production 0.3% 0.6% 4.2% 0.3% -0.6% -3.4%
Capacity Utilization 77.6% 77.5% 75.7% (11/03) 74.8% 75.6% 77.4%
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