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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Shows Limited Improvement
by Tom Moeller  July 15, 2015

Overall industrial output increased 0.3% during June (1.5% y/y) following an unrevised 0.2% decline. A 0.2% rise in production had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Manufacturing sector production was unchanged (+1.8% y/y) for the second consecutive month. May's figure was revised from -0.2%. Mining output rebounded 1.0% (-0.8% y/y), the first increase since December. Utility output improved 1.5% (4.3% y/y) after a 1.3% rise.

Within the factory sector, automotive products production fell 3.8% (+5.3% y/y) after three months of increase. Appliance, furniture & carpeting output edged up 0.9% (3.0% y/y) following no change during May. Business equipment production increased 0.4% (3.0% y/y) following a 0.6% rise. Transit equipment output fell 0.7% (+2.0% y/y) after a 1.1% jump. In the nondurables consumer goods sector, clothing output remained unchanged (2.5% y/y) after a 0.8% decline. Chemical product manufacturing improved 0.2% (2.8% y/y) after two months of decline.

The special aggregate series indicated that production in high technology industries increased 0.8% but still was down 0.5% y/y. It was the first monthly increase since November. A 1.4% rise (-1.0% y/y) in semiconductor output led the grouping's production higher. Communications equipment production improved 0.4% both m/m and y/y, but computer & office equipment output declined 2.6% (+1.8% y/y). Factory sector production excluding the high-tech sector remained unchanged (+1.9% y/y) following two months of 0.1% uptick. Manufacturing production excluding both high-tech and autos improved 0.2% (1.7% y/y) following a 0.1% slip.

The capacity utilization rate rose to 78.4% but remained below the recovery high of 79.8% reached in November. Mining sector utilization edged up m/m to 84.1% but remained down from its 90.5% high twelve months ago. In the factory sector, the capacity utilization rate eased to 77.2%, down from 78.1% in November. Total industry capacity rose 2.6% y/y while factory sector capacity increased 1.9% 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) Jun May Apr Jun Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total Output 0.3 -0.2 -0.5 1.5 4.2 2.9 3.8
Manufacturing 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.8 3.5 2.7 4.1
    Consumer Goods 0.0 0.1 -1.1 2.5 2.8 2.4 1.7
    Business Equipment 0.4 0.6 -0.1 3.0 5.2 3.6 7.5
    Construction Supplies -0.1 0.6 0.5 1.7 4.2 4.2 4.6
  Materials 0.5 -0.6 -0.3 1.6 5.1 3.2 4.5
Utilities 1.5 1.2 -5.1 4.3 1.3 2.1 -2.1
Capacity Utilization (%) 78.4 78.2 78.5 79.2 79.1 78.0 77.3
 Manufacturing 77.2 77.3 77.3 77.3 77.2 76.1 75.5
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