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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Declines Broadly
by Tom Moeller  September 15, 2015

Overall industrial output decreased 0.4% during August after a 0.8% July gain, last month reported as 0.6%. A 0.2% decline had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Manufacturing sector production fell 0.5% (+1.3% y/y) following a 0.9% rise. Mining output was off 0.7% (-3.2% y/y) following two months of increase. Utility output gained 0.6% (3.3% y/y) after a 0.1% dip.

Within the factory sector, motor vehicle & parts production declined 6.4% (+6.9% y/y) after a 10.6% jump. Output of computers, video & audio gear fell 0.8% (+5.3% y/y), the first decline in six months. Appliance, furniture & carpeting output improved 0.3% (4.8% y/y) after a 1.9% jump. Business equipment production declined 0.4% (+1.0% y/y), the second decline in three months. In the nondurables consumer goods sector, clothing output improved 0.2% (2.9% y/y). That followed a 1.6% rebound on the heels of five months of decline. Chemical product manufacturing eased 0.2% (+2.0% y/y) after a minimal rise.

The special aggregate series indicated that production in high technology industries declined 0.4% (-0.7% y/y). Computers & office equipment production fell 1.8% (+7.7% y/y) and communications equipment production remained unchanged, up 2.3% y/y. Manufacturing production excluding both high-tech and autos improved 0.1% (1.0% y/y) but has been little changed this year.

The capacity utilization rate declined to 77.6% and remained below the recovery high of 79.0% reached in November. Mining sector utilization moved lower m/m to 84.0% and remained down from its 91.7% high reached in December. In the factory sector, the capacity utilization rate backpedaled m/m to 75.8% and has moved sideways since the middle of last 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) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total Output -0.4 0.8 0.0 0.9 3.7 1.9 2.8
Manufacturing -0.5 0.9 -0.1 1.3 2.5 0.9 2.7
    Consumer Goods -0.4 1.4 0.1 2.6 2.2 1.5 -1.3
    Business Equipment -0.4 0.1 -0.2 1.0 4.8 -0.4 9.9
    Construction Supplies 0.1 0.3 0.3 1.5 3.9 2.8 4.3
  Materials -0.6 1.1 0.0 0.9 5.1 3.1 4.1
Utilities 0.6 -0.1 1.0 3.3 1.0 2.5 -2.1
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.6 78.0 77.4 78.2 78.1 76.7 76.7
 Manufacturing 75.8 76.2 75.7 75.6 75.3 74.0 74.5
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