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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Output Increase Moderates As Post-Sandy Effect Lessens
by Tom Moeller  January 16, 2013

Industrial production rose a moderate 0.3% (2.3% y/y) last month following a revised 1.0% November jump, initially reported as 1.1%. A 0.2% gain had been expected in the Action Economics survey. For the year, output rose 3.7% after a 4.1% jump in 2011. Unseasonably warm temperatures helped cause a 4.7% (-0.2% y/y) decline in utility output. That left factory output to rise a firmer 0.8% (2.4% y/y), though that still was below the 1.3% November rebound following Hurricane Sandy. For the year factory output rose 4.1%, about as it did in 2011.

In the factory sector, output of business equipment posted a strong 1.3% rise last month which left the y/y advance at 8.7%. Offsetting this strength was no change (1.0% y/y) in the production of consumer goods. A strong 2.6% rise (17.2% y/y) in the output of motor vehicles & parts was countered by a 1.6% decline (+5.5% y/y) in electronic equipment and appliances. Computers & electronics production rose 1.6% (1.9% y/y). Overall, manufacturing output excluding high tech and motor vehicles rose 0.7% (1.3% y/y) during December. The rise of 3.2% for 2012 compared to 3.7% in 2011 and 3.6% during 2010.

The capacity utilization rate ticked up to 78.8% in December and for the year the utilization rate was roughly unchanged at 78.7%. In the factory sector, the rate rose to 77.4%, its highest level since July. During 2012, the capacity utilization rate averaged 77.2% versus 75.0% during 2011.

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) Dec Nov  Oct Dec Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Output 0.3 1.0 -0.4 2.3 3.7 4.1 5.4
Manufacturing 0.8 1.3 -0.9 2.4 4.1 4.3 5.7
  Consumer Goods 0.0 0.9 -0.8 1.0 1.6 2.3 1.1
  Business Equipment 1.3 1.9 -1.3 8.7 10.2 8.3 8.3
  Construction Supplies 0.9 2.3 -0.3 2.3 4.9 5.6 3.8
Materials 0.3 1.0 0.2 2.2 4.0 4.6 8.4
Utilities -4.7 0.2 1.3 -0.2 -1.6 -0.3 3.6
Capacity Utilization (%) 78.8 78.7 78.0 78.3 78.7 76.8 73.7
 Manufacturing 77.4 76.9 76.0 76.8 77.2 75.0 71.3
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