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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Output Records Strong Increase
by Tom Moeller  June 16, 2014

Industrial output in the U.S. increased 0.6% last month (4.3% y/y) following a 0.3% April decline, revised from -0.6%. A 0.5% gain in total production was expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Production in the factory sector rose 0.6% (3.5% y/y) after a 0.1% April slip, last month reported as -0.6%. Utility output fell 0.8% (+0.6% y/y) following a 4.6% drop.

Consumer goods output ticked 0.1% higher (3.2% y/y) after a 1.1% decline. The gain was paced by a 1.5% jump (7.7% y/y) in motor vehicles & parts. Appliances and furniture production gained 0.9% (7.6% y/y) while computers & electronics improved 0.3% (1.6% y/y). Amongst soft-goods industries, clothing production fell 0.2% (+4.9% y/y) and paper output declined 0.4% (-2.4% y/y). Business equipment production gained 0.8% (5.3% y/y) led by a 1.0% rise (8.0% y/y) in industrial equipment.

Within the special aggregate series, high technology industries posted a 1.6% production gain (5.3% y/y), led by a 2.7% rise (1.8% y/y) in computer output. Factory production excluding the high-tech area rose 0.6% (3.5% y/y). Manufacturing production excluding both high-tech and autos rose 0.5% (3.2% y/y).

The capacity utilization rate edged up to 79.1% last month from 78.9%. That remained below the 80.5% high averaged in 2007. In the factory sector, the capacity utilization rate improved to 77.0% and remained below the 78.6% level before the recession. Total industry capacity rose an improving 2.4% y/y while factory sector capacity increased 2.2%.

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 2013 2012 2011
Total Output 0.6 -0.3 0.8 4.2 2.9 3.8 3.3
Manufacturing 0.6 -0.1 0.7 3.5 2.7 4.1 3.3
  Consumer Goods 0.1 -1.1 0.5 3.2 2.4 1.7 1.5
  Business Equipment 0.8 0.1 1.0 5.3 3.6 7.5 5.6
  Construction Supplies 0.7 -0.6 0.8 4.4 4.2 4.6 3.0
Materials 0.9 0.2 1.1 5.0 3.2 4.5 4.7
Utilities -0.8 -4.6 -0.5 0.6 2.1 -2.1 -0.2
Capacity Utilization (%) 79.1 78.9 79.3 77.8 77.9 77.3 76.3
 Manufacturing 77.0 76.7 76.9 75.9 76.1 75.5 73.9
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