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Economy in Brief

Industrial Production Up With Temperatures
by Tom Moeller August 16, 2006

Total U.S. industrial output increased 0.4% last month. The gain was a bit light versus Consensus expectations for a 0.5% rise though it followed an unrevised 0.8% jump during June.

Hot temperatures throughout the country fueled a 2.0% (0.5% y/y) surge in utility output. In fact, cooling degree days during July set a new record high.

Factory sector output rose a more moderate 0.2% following the unrevised 0.8% June jump. The rise lifted the starting point for 3Q 2.5% (AR) above the prior quarter's average.

Production of durable consumer goods fell a whopping 3.2% (+1.1% y/y) as output of automotive products dropped 6.2% (-0.5%) and output of appliances & furniture fell for the fourth straight month, down 0.7% (-2.0% y/y. Nondurable consumer goods output increased 0.8% (2.0% y/y) as clothing output jumped 1.7% (8.4% y/y).

Business equipment production surged 1.1% due to a 1.9% (7.7% y/y) spike in output of industrial & other equipment. Production of information processing & equipment also rose a firm 0.9% (19.5% y/y).Factory output overall less the hi-tech industries ticked up just 0.1% (4.6% y/y).

Overall capacity utilization rose to 82.4% in July, its highest level in six years. Factory sector utilization was stable m/m at 80.7%.

Production & Capacity July June Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Industrial Production 0.4% 0.8% 4.8% 3.2% 4.1% 0.6%
 Manufacturing (NAICS) 0.2% 0.8% 5.8% 3.9% 4.8% 0.5%
  Consumer Goods -0.3% 1.1% 1.8% 2.1% 2.1% 1.0%
  Business Equipment 1.1% 0.8% 12.2% 9.1% 9.3% 0.0%
Capacity Utilization 82.4% 82.3% 80.4% (7/05) 80.1% 78.6% 75.7%
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