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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Increases Again in November
by Tom Moeller  December 15, 2020

• Production gain moderates m/m but surges since April.

• Durable goods strength is pronounced, notably for motor vehicles.

• Capacity utilization continues to rise.

Industrial production increased 0.4% (-5.5% y/y) during November following a 0.9% October rise, revised from 1.1%. A 0.3% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Survey Forecast Survey. Since April, production has risen 13.9% but remains 5.5% below the November 2019 peak.

Manufacturing production increased 0.8% last month following a 1.1% October gain. Despite the rise, factory output is 3.8% below its December 2019 peak. Utilities output declined 4.3% (-8.9% y/y) and mining output rose 2.2% (-12.5% y/y) in November.

Durable goods production increased 1.5% (-4.3% y/y). Motor vehicle production rose 5.3% but was unchanged y/y. Machinery production fell 0.6% (-4.9% y/y) while output of electrical equipment fell 0.8% (-5.0% y/y). Furniture production improved 0.3% (-10.7% y/y). Business equipment production gained 2.0% (-8.6% y/y). Nondurable goods production edged 0.1% higher (-2.5% y/y) led by a 2.1% rise (1.2% y/y) in paper production. Foods, beverage & tobacco output gained 1.0% (1.5% y/y). To the downside, petroleum production fell 0.7% (-14.0% y/y) while chemical output eased 0.5% (-3.0% y/y).

Output of selected  high technology equipment rose 0.6% (4.9% y/y) after a 1.7% rise. Excluding these products, production improved 0.8% (-3.3% y/y). Excluding both high tech products & motor vehicles, factory production rose 0.4% (-4.1% y/y).

Capacity utilization improved to 73.3%, its highest point since March. Factory sector utilization rose to 72.6%, also its highest point since March and up from the April low of 60.1%.

Industrial production and capacity and oil prices are located in Haver's USECON database. Additional detail on production and capacity can be found in the IP database. The expectations figures come from the AS1REPNA database.

Industrial Production (SA, % Change) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Total Output 0.4 0.9 -0.1 -5.5 0.9 3.9 2.3
Manufacturing 0.8 1.1 0.1 -3.7 -0.2 2.3 2.0
   Durable Goods 1.5 1.1 0.1 -4.3 0.7 3.4 2.2
     Motor Vehicles 5.3 -1.1 -3.2 0.0 -2.3 4.1 0.0
     Selected High Tech 0.6 1.7 1.2 4.9 5.1 6.4 2.6
   Nondurable Goods 0.1 1.4 -0.2 -2.5 -0.7 1.9 1.9
Utilities -4.3 1.8 -2.2 -8.9 -0.8 4.4 -0.8
Mining 2.2 -0.7 1.0 -12.5 7.1 12.4 7.4
Capacity Utilization (%) 73.3 73.0 72.3 77.6 77.8 78.7 76.5
   Manufacturing 72.6 72.0 71.2 75.2 75.6 76.6 75.1
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