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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Improves
by Tom Moeller  August 15, 2012

Industrial production gained 0.6% during July following a 0.1% June uptick, last month reported as 0.4%. A 0.5% increase had been expected. A steady 0.5% rise in factory output led last month's gain in production. July heat caused utilities output to jump 1.3% following a deepened 3.3% June decline.

In the manufacturing sector output rose 0.5% as it did in June. A 1.9% gain (15.6% y/y) in auto output was accompanied by a 1.2 decline (-5.3% y/y) in computers, video & audio equipment. Appliance & furniture production increased 0.6% (3.2% y/y) while clothing production was unchanged (-4.3% y/y). Output of high technology products increased 1.5% (0.8% y/y) while less high-tech, production gained 0.6% (4.5% y/y). Less autos as well production rose 0.4% (3.2% y/y).

Capacity utilization rose to 79.3%. In manufacturing alone, utilization rose to 77.8% and remained up from the recession low of 64.4%. Overall capacity is estimated to have risen 1.4% y/y following a 0.2% dip last year and a 2.0% decline during 2010. In the factory sector, capacity rose 1.2% y/y and excluding the high-tech industries it increased 0.8%.

Industrial production and capacity data are included in Haver's USECON database, with additional detail in the IP database. The expectations figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Industrial Production (SA, % Change) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Output 0.6 0.1 0.1 4.4 4.1 5.4 -11.4
Manufacturing 0.5 0.5 -0.6 5.1 4.3 5.7 -13.8
  Consumer Goods 0.6 -0.4 0.9 1.8 2.3 1.1 -6.9
  Business Equipment -0.1 1.9 0.3 12.4 8.3 8.3 -18.2
  Construction Supplies -0.5 -0.6 -1.6 2.6 5.6 3.8 -22.9
Materials 1.0 0.2 -0.2 4.8 4.6 8.4 -11.5
Utilities 1.3 -3.3 5.3 -2.4 -0.3 3.6 -2.5
Capacity Utilization (%) 79.3 78.9 78.9 77.0 76.8 73.7 68.5
 Manufacturing 77.8 77.6 77.3 75.0 75.0 71.3 65.5
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