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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Improves
by Tom Moeller  December 16, 2013

Industrial production jumped 1.1% last month (3.3% y/y) following a 0.1% October uptick, initially reported as -0.1%. A 0.3% gain had been expected in the Action Economics forecast survey. A 3.9% jump (2.9% y/y) in utility output provided strength to total production last month. Additionally, factory output increased a firm 0.6% (2.9% y/y) after a 0.5% October rise. These gains left three-month growth in factory production at an improved 5.1% (AR).

A 1.5% rise (2.7% y/y) in consumer goods production provided strength to the factory sector last month. It was led by a 3.3% increase (12.0% y/y) in automotive products, a 0.9% gain (9.1% y/y) in furniture & related products and a 0.9% rise (-0.1% y/y) in electrical equipment & appliances. In the nondurables area, textile output jumped 1.8% (0.3% y/y) and chemical output rose 0.9% (1.6% y/y). To the down-side, computer production slipped 0.1% (+4.2%) and apparel output fell 0.3% (+4.9% y/y). Factory sector production excluding the motor vehicle & high tech industries gained 0.3% (2.3% y/y).

The capacity utilization rate jumped to 79.9% led by the jump in utilities to 81.0%. In the factory sector, the utilization rate rose moderately to 76.8%. The electrical equipment industry is producing at 81.3% of capacity while motor vehicle businesses are at 78.4%. Also, the apparel industry is producing at 74.7% of capacity. Overall industry capacity rose 1.8% y/y last month while factory sector capacity increased 1.6% 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) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Output 1.1 0.1 0.5 3.3 3.6 3.3 5.7
Manufacturing 0.6 0.5 0.1 2.9 3.9 3.4 6.1
  Consumer Goods 1.5 -0.1 0.9 2.7 1.6 1.5 1.1
  Business Equipment -0.5 0.2 1.1 2.3 8.3 5.6 8.3
  Construction Supplies 0.6 0.6 1.0 4.8 5.2 3.0 3.6
Materials 1.4 0.2 0.1 3.8 4.1 4.7 8.8
Utilities 3.9 -0.3 4.2 2.9 -2.1 -0.2 3.6
Capacity Utilization (%) 79.0 78.2 78.3 77.9 77.6 76.5 74.0
 Manufacturing 76.8 76.4 76.2 75.8 75.8 74.0 71.3
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