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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Increase Moderates
by Tom Moeller  September 15, 2011

U.S. industrial production inched up 0.1% last month following a 1.0% July gain, originally reported as 0.9%. The latest increase matched Consensus expectations, according to Action Economics. Factory sector output gained 0.4% as motor vehicle output jumped 2.6% (11.7% y/y). Less autos, output rose 0.1% (3.2% y/y). Utility output fell 3.0% and reversed the July increase as hot temperatures subsided. With both autos and utilities excluded, factory output rose 0.2% (3.5% y/y), down from a 0.5% July gain.

Output of computers & electronic components rose 1.3% (6.8% y/y), electrical equipment & appliances rose 0.9% (-1.5% y/y) but machinery output fell 0.4% (+10.8% y/y). In the soft goods area, apparel output slipped 0.3% (+2.2% y/y), down for the third straight month, but chemical output inched up 0.3% (1.7% y/y).

Capacity utilization ticked up to 77.4%. 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 0.9% y/y following a 2.2% decline during 2010. In the factory sector, capacity rose 0.4% y/y. However, it fell 0.1% less the high-tech industries.

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) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Total Output 0.1 1.0 0.0 3.3 5.3 -11.2 -3.7
 Manufacturing 0.4 0.6 0.1 3.8 5.4 -13.5 -5.0
   Consumer Goods 0.2 0.9 -0.4 1.2 4.3 -7.2 -5.2
   Business Equipment 0.7 1.1 0.1 9.4 7.7 -16.3 -2.5
   Construction Supplies -0.3 0.9 0.1 4.2 3.8 -22.5 -9.7
 Materials 0.1 0.9 0.5 3.9 6.3 -11.6 -2.7
 Utilities -3.0 2.9 -0.1 -2.4 4.0 -2.6 -0.1
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.4 77.3 76.7 75.5 74.5 69.1 77.8
 Manufacturing 75.0 74.7 74.4 72.6 71.7 66.2 74.9
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