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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Lifted By Autos & Utilities
by Tom Moeller  August 16, 2011

U.S. industrial production rose 0.9% last month following a 0.4% June gain, revised from 0.2%. The latest increase beat Consensus expectations for a 0.4% increase according to Action Economics. Factory sector output gained 0.7% as motor vehicle output jumped 5.2% (-0.2% y/y). That followed three months of decline, in part due to the earthquake & tsunami in Japan. Less autos, output rose 0.6%. However, utility output surged 2.8% as hot temperatures raised production. With both autos and utilities excluded, factory output rose 0.2% (4.0% y/y), about as it did during May & June.

Output of computers, video & audio equipment rose 0.8% but remained down by 5.2% y/y. Machinery output also rose a strengthened 0.7% (3.8% y/y). Electrical equipment & appliance output held back the overall production increase with a 2.4% decline (-1.6% y/y). In the soft goods area, apparel output fell 1.9% (+3.3% y/y) and chemical output slipped 0.3% (+2.4% y/y).

Capacity utilization rose sharply to 77.5% with the overall output increase. In manufacturing alone, however, utilization rose moderately to 75.0%, up from the recession low of 64.4%. Overall capacity is estimated to have risen 0.7% y/y following a 2.2% decline during 2010.

Industrial production and capacity data are included in Haver's USECON database, with additional detail in the IP database. The IP database contains figures with more decimal precision and includes extensive lists of "relative importance" numbers for several breakdowns of production by industry and market group. The expectations figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Industrial Production (SA, % Change) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Total Output 0.9 0.4 0.2 3.7 5.3 -11.2 -3.7
 Manufacturing 0.7 0.1 0.2 3.8 5.4 -13.5 -5.0
   Consumer Goods 1.1 0.1 0.0 1.3 4.3 -7.2 -5.2
   Business Equipment 0.6 0.3 1.4 8.5 7.7 -16.3 -2.5
   Construction Supplies 0.3 0.1 1.3 4.4 3.8 -22.5 -9.7
 Materials 0.8 0.7 0.0 4.7 6.3 -11.6 -2.7
 Utilities 2.8 0.8 -0.3 -0.1 4.0 -2.6 -0.1
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.5 76.9 76.7 75.3 74.5 69.1 77.8
 Manufacturing 75.0 74.6 74.6 72.4 71.7 66.2 74.9
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