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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Slips
by Tom Moeller  December 15, 2011

Industrial production fell 0.2% during November following an unrevised 0.7% October gain. The latest decline matched Consensus expectations, according to Action Economics. Factory sector output fell 0.4% and reversed the October increase. Utility output rose 0.2% and mostly reversed its October decline.

Output of business equipment slipped 0.1% following its 1.4% surge but remained up 10.0% during the last 12 months. This y/y gain reflects 25.3% growth in transit equipment, 6.5% in information processing & other, and 5.9% in industrial supplies & other. Consumer goods output fell 0.4% led by a 2.7% decline (+12.0% y/y) in autos. Computers, video & audio fell 2.0% (+0.9% y/y) and appliance, furniture & carpeting slipped 0.1% (-0.3% y/y). Nondurables output ticked 0.2% lower (+0.4% y/y), while clothing production fell 0.6% (-5.0% y/y). Less the high-tech & motor vehicle industries industrial production was unchanged last month (3.5% y/y) following no change during October.

Capacity utilization fell to 77.8%. In manufacturing alone, utilization slipped m/m to 75.3% but was still up from the recession low of 64.4%. Overall capacity is estimated to have risen 1.2% y/y following a 2.2% decline during 2010. In the factory sector, capacity rose 0.8% y/y. However, it was roughly unchanged 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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Total Output -0.2 0.7 0.0 3.7 5.3 -11.2 -3.7
 Manufacturing -0.4 0.4 0.3 3.8 5.4 -13.5 -5.0
   Consumer Goods -0.5 0.4 -0.1 2.1 4.3 -7.2 -5.2
   Business Equipment -0.1 1.4 0.8 10.0 7.7 -16.3 -2.5
   Construction Supplies 0.4 0.3 0.4 3.6 3.8 -22.5 -9.7
 Materials 0.0 0.8 -0.1 4.0 6.3 -11.6 -2.7
 Utilities 0.2 -0.3 -3.0 -0.7 4.0 -2.6 -0.1
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.8 78.0 77.6 75.8 74.5 69.1 77.8
 Manufacturing 75.3 75.6 75.3 73.1 71.7 66.2 74.9
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