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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Increases Moderately in November
by Tom Moeller  December 16, 2021

• Factory output stands at highest level since January 2019.

• Durable & nondurable goods output slows.

• Capacity utilization increases.

Industrial production increased 0.5% (5.3% y/y) during November following a 1.7% October rise, revised from 1.6%. Motor vehicle parts shortages and recovery from Hurricane Ida affected production last month. A 0.7% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Manufacturing output rose 0.7% last month (4.6% y/y) following a 1.4% increase during October, revised from 1.2%.

Durable goods production rose 0.8% (4.9% y/y) last month after a 1.4% October gain. Motor vehicle production rose 2.2% (-5.4% y/y) following a 10.1% rise. Excluding the motor vehicle sector, factory output rose 0.6% (5.5% y/y) after a 0.8% gain. Elsewhere in the durable goods sector, high-tech product production rose 0.7% (6.3% y/y) after a 0.3% rise in October. Production of electrical equipment, appliances & components improved 0.2% (4.9% y/y) in November after falling 0.9% in October. Machinery output weakened 0.7% (+8.0% y/y) and reversed the prior month's gain. Output of computers & electronic products improved 0.8% (7.5% y/y) in November after falling in the prior two months. Primary metals production rose 0.5% (8.4% y/y) after a 1.6% gain while fabricated metals output rose 0.6% (5.0% y/y) last month, about the same as in each of the prior three months.

In the nondurable goods sector, production improved 0.5% (4.7% y/y) after rising 1.3% in October. Chemical production rose 0.5% (6.9% y/y) after a 2.1% rise. Petroleum & coal product output declined 1.2% (+12.7% y/y) after October's 3.8% recovery. Food, beverage & tobacco output rose 0.8% (0.2% y/y) after two months of 0.4% increase, but textile production rose 1.2% (5.7% y/y) in November and reversed the prior month's decline. Apparel production fell 0.5% (+5.3% y/y) after a 1.6% October decline.

Electric & gas utilities production declined 0.8% (+5.1% y/y) in November following October's 0.6% increase. Electric power output fell 1.9% (+4.2% y/y) but natural gas distribution rose 6.1% (11.7% y/y). Mining output rose 0.7% (9.2% y/y) after a 4.3% gain.

Capacity utilization rose to 76.8% in November from 76.5% in October. A utilization rate of 76.8% had been expected. In manufacturing, the utilization rate increased to 77.3% last month, the highest level since December 2018.

Industrial production and capacity are located in Haver's USECON database. Additional detail on production and capacity utilization 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 2020 2019 2018
Total Output 0.5 1.7 -1.0 5.3 -7.2 -0.8 3.2
Manufacturing 0.7 1.4 -0.5 4.6 -6.6 -2.0 1.4
   Durable Goods 0.8 1.4 -0.8 4.9 -8.2 -2.0 3.1
     Motor Vehicles & Parts 2.2 10.1 -7.3 -5.4 -15.7 -3.0 4.1
     Selected High Tech Equipment 0.7 0.3 0.4 6.3 7.1 3.9 9.0
   Nondurable Goods 0.5 1.3 -0.2 4.7 -4.4 -1.8 -0.3
Utilities -0.8 0.6 -2.9 5.1 -3.4 -0.8 4.9
Mining 0.7 4.3 -2.3 9.2 -14.2 5.9 13.0
Capacity Utilization (%) 76.8 76.5 75.3 73.3 71.6 77.4 79.2
   Manufacturing 77.3 76.8 75.8 74.0 71.2 75.8 77.7
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