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Economy in Brief

After three consecutive months of gains, total industrial output was down 0.1% in May, but still 4.3% higher than a year ago. Consensus expectations were for a 0.3% increase for the month.

Although capacity utilization dropped to 81.7% last month from 81.9% in April, it remains at one of the highest level since July, 2000.

Factory sector output decreased by 0.1% in May (+4.9% y/y). Production of durable goods was 0.2% lower (+7.9% y/y) led by drops in motor vehicles and parts (-1.3%), machinery (-1.7%), and electric equipment (-0.5%). Partially offsetting the declines were increases in primary metals (+0.9%), computers and electronic products (+1.1%), wood products (+0.2%) and nonmetallic mineral products (+0.2%). Nondurable goods manufacturing was 0.1% higher (+2.1% y/y). The main contribution to the gain was a 4.3% jump in petroleum and coal products.

Output of durable consumer goods was down 0.8%, with decreases in automotive products (-1.0%), computers and equipment (-1.3%), and appliances and furniture (-1.1%), while nondurable consumer goods rose 0.2% with all of the improvement coming from consumer energy products (+2.8%).

Business equipment production was 0.2% lower in May (+11.8% y/y) after seven consecutive months of gains. The information processing and equipment component continued to jump, adding 1.6% to the previous month’s level (+21.6% y/y).

Production & Capacity May April Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Industrial Production -0.1% 0.8% 4.3% 3.2% 4.1% 0.6%
 Manufacturing -0.1% 0.7% 4.9% 3.9% 4.8% 0.5%
 Consumer Goods -0.1% 0.1% 2.1% 2.1% 2.1% 1.0%
 Business Equipment -0.2% 2.1% 11.8% 9.1% 9.3% 0.0%
 Capacity Utilization 81.7% 81.9% 79.8%
(5/05)
80.1% 78.6% 75.7%
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