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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Output Recovers After Sandy, But The Trend Weakens
by Tom Moeller  December 14, 2012

The rebound in industrial sector output from Hurricane Sandy totaled 1.1% (2.5% y/y) last month following a deepened 0.7% October decline, last month reported as -0.4%. The Fed indicated that virtually all of last month's increase in output was due to the passage of the storm. A 0.3% gain in industrial output had been expected. A weakening trend is indicated by the 1.2% y/y increase in factory sector output which was down from the 4.3% rise during all of last year as well as versus 5.7% in 2010.

In the manufacturing sector, a 0.9% increase (1.2% y/y) in output just made up for October's 1.0% drop. The pattern is the same for the 1.3% m/m gains in consumer goods and business equipment output, although the latter's 7.5% y/y rise easily outpaced the 1.2% y/y increase for consumer goods. Output of transit equipment gained 2.5% last month (15.2% y/y) and paced the business equipment jump. Electrical equipment output also was strong and increased 2.3% (6.4% y/y) while machinery production rose 1.0% (3.7% y/y). Production of computers & electronic components, however, fell 0.4% and was up a relatively weak 1.8% y/y. In the consumer sector, automotive products production rose 3.4% last month (7.7% y/y) but furniture & appliance production increased a lesser 1.0% (2.5% y/y). Clothing output jumped 2.4% (-3.4% y/y) while computer production increased just 0.8% and fell 4.3% y/y. Outside of the auto & high-tech sectors altogether, factory sector industrial production rose 0.8% last month (1.7% y/y) and didn't full recover October's 1.1% decline.

The capacity utilization rate rose to 78.4% and recovered its October fall. In the factory sector, the rate also rose to 76.6% and made up for the October decline to 75.9%.

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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total Output 1.1 -0.7 0.2 2.5 4.1 5.4 -11.4
Manufacturing 0.9 -1.0 -0.1 1.2 4.3 5.7 -13.8
  Consumer Goods 1.3 -1.3 0.4 1.2 2.3 1.1 -6.9
  Business Equipment 1.3 -1.3 -0.3 7.5 8.3 8.3 -18.2
  Construction Supplies 1.4 -0.4 0.5 2.8 5.6 3.8 -22.9
Materials 1.0 -0.1 0.2 2.7 4.6 8.4 -11.5
Utilities 1.1 0.0 -0.8 0.7 -0.3 3.6 -2.5
Capacity Utilization (%) 78.4 77.7 78.3 77.7 76.8 73.7 68.5
 Manufacturing 76.6 75.9 76.7 75.7 75.0 71.3 65.5
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