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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Ticked 0.1% Higher
by Tom Moeller February 15, 2008

Industrial production ticked 0.1% higher last month following an upwardly revised 0.1% rise during December. The latest increase was as expected.

Factory output also rose 0.1% after an upwardly revised 0.2% December increase. The m/m gains have picked up a bit since scattered declines last Summer. As a result the three month growth in output rose to 2.1% (AR) from a low of -4.1% in September. Some of that improvement owes to the high tech sector. Less high tech factory output was unchanged in January and three month growth was 1.1%.

Production of computers & electronics surged 1.4% (14.4% y/y) after a very much upwardly revised 1.0% December gain. Output of furniture & appliances fell 2.1% and three month dropped to -14.3%. Chemical product output also fell by 0.4%. There was scattered improvement elsewhere. Output of automotive products dropped 1.2% but rose 5.3% on a three month basis. Apparel product output fell 0.1% and three month growth rose to 2.6%.

Output of construction supplies fell again, last month by 1.1% and three month remained negative at -2.6%.

Output of business equipment rose 0.4% with three month growth up to 8.0%. Output of industrial equipment fell 0.4% but three month improved to 2.5%.

Capacity utilization was unchanged for the third month at 81.5%. Utilization in the factory sector slipped a hair to 79.7% from 78.8% where it had been for three months. That ias down from an 80.1% average last year.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION (SA) January December Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Total 0.1% 0.1% 2.2% 1.9% 4.0% 3.2%
  Manufacturing 0.1% 0.2% 2.0% 1.9% 4.7% 3.9%
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