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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Output Nudges Higher
by Tom Moeller  June 14, 2013

Activity in the factory sector continues on a weak footing. Industrial production ticked up just 0.1% during May following a 0.5% April decline, earlier reported as -0.6%. A 0.2% rise had been expected in the Action Economics survey. Factory sector production edged up 0.1% (1.7% y/y) following a 0.3% decline during April. Utility output fell 1.8% (-4.8% y/y) after a 3.2% drop.

The uptick in factory sector output reflected mixed performance amongst industries. Consumer goods production slipped 0.1% (+1.2% y/y) as motor vehicle output gained 0.4% (7.8% y/y). Elsewhere, appliance, furniture & related goods production rose 0.3% and was up 1.9% y/y. In the nondurables area, apparel output recovered 2.8% (-1.0% y/y) but paper production slipped 0.3% (-6.3% y/y). Business equipment output increased 0.2% (3.2% y/y). Output of information processing and related equipment recovered 1.2% (5.6% y/y) and transit equipment production gained 0.6% (5.6% y/y). Output of high-tech products rose 0.8% (3.6% y/y). Excluding the output of high tech products & motor vehicles, factory production ticked up 0.1% (1.3% y/y) during May.

The capacity utilization rate ticked up to 77.8% from a downwardly revised 77.7% in April. In the factory sector, the rate held steady at 75.8%. Overall industry capacity rose 1.8% y/y while factory sector capacity increased 1.7% y/y. 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) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Output 0.1 -0.5 0.2 1.6 3.9 4.1 5.4
Manufacturing 0.1 -0.3 -0.3 1.7 3.9 3.4 6.1
  Consumer Goods -0.1 -0.6 0.6 1.2 1.6 1.5 1.1
  Business Equipment 0.2 -0.3 0.0 3.2 8.3 5.6 8.3
  Construction Supplies -0.1 -1.2 -1.2 2.7 5.2 3.0 3.6
Materials 0.2 -0.2 0.1 2.0 4.1 4.7 8.8
Utilities -1.8 -3.2 5.0 3.4 -3.6 -0.2 3.6
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.8 77.7 78.1 77.8 77.6 76.5 74.0
 Manufacturing 75.8 75.8 76.2 75.8 75.8 74.0 71.3
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