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Economy in Brief

Industrial Production Stalled in August
by Tom Moeller September 15, 2006

Total U.S. industrial output slipped 0.2% last month and that disappointed Consensus expectations for a 0.2% gain. The decline followed an unrevised 0.4% rise during July.

As hot summer temperatures moderated, utility output reversed nearly all of the July spike with a 0.8% (+0.7% y/y) decline.

Factory sector output also cooled and was unchanged after an upwardly revised 0.3% July increase. So far in 3Q factory output is up at a 3.5% rate versus 2Q which rose 5.1% (AR).

Production of durable consumer goods recovered a piece of the July drop and rose 1.2% (-0.3% y/y) as output of automotive products increased 2.0% (-2.8% y/y) and output of appliances & furniture increased 1.2% (-1.7% y/y) after four straight months of decline. Nondurable consumer goods output fell 0.3% (+2.7% y/y).

Business equipment production slipped 0.2% as output of information processing & equipment fell 0.4% (+17.3% y/y).Factory output overall less the hi-tech industries was unchanged (4.5% y/y).

Overall capacity utilization slipped to 82.4% from an upwardly revised 82.7% in August.

Production & Capacity August July Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Industrial Production -0.2% 0.4% 4.7% 3.2% 4.1% 0.6%
 Manufacturing (NAICS) 0.0% 0.3% 5.6% 3.9% 4.8% 0.5%
  Consumer Goods 0.1% -0.4% 1.9% 2.1% 2.1% 1.0%
  Business Equipment -0.2% 2.3% 13.5% 9.1% 9.3% 0.0%
Capacity Utilization 82.4% 82.7% 80.3% (8/05) 80.1% 78.6% 75.7%
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