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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  August 14, 2015

Overall industrial output increased 0.6% during July (1.3% y/y) following a revised 0.1% uptick, last month reported as 0.3%. Earlier figures were revised last month to show slower improvement in output. A 0.3% rise in production had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Manufacturing sector production increased 0.8% (+1.4% y/y) following a 0.3% decline. Mining output improved 0.2% (-2.1% y/y), the third increase since December. Utility output declined 1.0% (4.7% y/y) after a 2.3% rise.

Within the factory sector, motor vehicle & parts production rebounded 10.6% (9.0% y/y) after a 4.4% decline. Output of computers, video & audio gear jumped 1.8% (9.7% y/y), about as it did in June. Appliance, furniture & carpeting output increased 1.0% (2.0% y/y), roughly equaling the June gain. Business equipment production remained unchanged (1.0% y/y) following a 0.2% decline. In the nondurables consumer goods sector, clothing output jumped 1.0% (-2.1% y/y) following weakened estimates of decline during the prior five months. Chemical product manufacturing improved 0.3% (2.5% y/y) after two months of minimal increase.

The special aggregate series indicated that production in high technology industries increased 1.2% (+0.5% y/y), up just 0.5% y/y. It was only the second rise since November. Computers & office equipment production rose 2.0% (14.3% y/y) and communications equipment production improved 0.7%, but was down 0.8% y/y. Manufacturing production excluding both high-tech and autos improved 0.1% (0.9% y/y) and has been little-changed this year.

The capacity utilization rate rose to 78.0% but remained below the recovery high of 79.0% reached in November. Mining sector utilization moved lower m/m to 84.4% and remained down from its 91.6% high reached last June. In the factory sector, the capacity utilization rate rebounded m/m to 76.2%, its highest level this year.

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) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total Output 0.6 0.1 -0.3 1.3 3.7 1.9 2.8
Manufacturing 0.8 -0.3 0.1 1.4 2.5 0.9 2.7
    Consumer Goods 1.2 -0.2 -0.3 2.3 2.2 1.5 -1.3
    Business Equipment 0.0 -0.2 0.8 1.0 4.8 -0.4 9.9
    Construction Supplies 0.2 0.2 0.3 1.0 3.9 2.8 4.3
  Materials 0.6 0.1 -0.4 1.9 5.1 3.1 4.1
Utilities -1.0 2.3 -0.6 4.7 1.0 2.5 -2.1
Capacity Utilization (%) 78.0 77.7 77.7 78.3 78.1 76.7 76.7
 Manufacturing 76.2 75.7 76.0 75.9 75.3 74.0 74.5
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