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Economy in Brief

Industrial Production Fell
by Tom Moeller October 17, 2006

Total U.S. industrial output fell 0.6% last month. Though the decline followed an upwardly revised no change in August output, it again disappointed Consensus expectations which had been for just a 0.1% dip.

Factory sector output fell 0.3% and reversed all of the prior month's gain which was upwardly revised from no change. During the third quarter, factory output rose at a 4.2% annual rate versus 2Q which rose 5.1%.

Production of durable consumer goods dropped 1.8% due to a 2.6% decline 9-7.7% y/y) in the output of automotive products. Output of appliances & furniture also was weak and fell 2.4% (-5.0% y/y). Nondurable consumer goods output fell 0.6% (+2.2% y/y) but nonenergy nondurables output rose 0.1% (3.1% y/y), the increase solely due to higher output of foods & tobacco (3.5% y/y).

Business equipment production slipped 0.2% after the upwardly revised 0.2% August gain. Output of information processing & equipment jumped 0.8% (16.7% y/y).Factory output overall less the hi-tech industries fell 0.5% (+4.8% y/y).

Overall capacity utilization fell to 81.9%, the lowest level since May.

Production & Capacity September August Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
Industrial Production -0.6% 0.0% 5.5% 3.2% 4.1% 0.6%
 Manufacturing (NAICS) -0.3% 0.3% 6.2% 3.9% 4.8% 0.5%
  Consumer Goods -0.9% 0.4% 0.5% 2.1% 2.1% 1.0%
  Business Equipment -0.2% 0.2% 18.5% 9.1% 9.3% 0.0%
Capacity Utilization 81.9% 82.5% 79.1% (9/05) 80.1% 78.6% 75.7%
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