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Economy in Brief

U.S. Industrial Production Rises in February
by Tom Moeller  March 17, 2022

• Factory sector growth picks up.

• Autos continue to hold back overall increase.

• Capacity utilization strengthens.

Industrial production increased 0.5% (7.5% y/y) during February after surging an unrevised 1.4% in January. The latest gain matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Manufacturing output surged 1.2% (7.4% y/y) in February after edging 0.1% higher in January. Utilities output fell by 2.7% (-1.2% y/y) following January's 10.4% surge due to cold weather. Mining output edged 0.1% higher (17.3% y/y).

The February production increase was held back by a 3.5% decline in motor vehicle output which was unchanged y/y. Output of computers & electronic products offset the decline, strengthening 1.8% (8.9% y/y). Machinery production rose 0.8% (8.3% y/y) in February and electrical equipment & appliance production rose 0.5% (5.7% y/y). In the nondurable goods sector, apparel production surged 3.0% (0.5% y/y) last month. Petroleum output strengthened 2.3% (12.5% y/y) and chemical output gained 0.8% (14.6% y/y). Food & beverage production also rose 0.8% (3.7% y/y) in February.

In the special factory classifications, factory output less the high technology sector rose 1.1% (7.4% y/y) in February while factory production excluding both high tech and autos rose 1.5% (7.9% y/y).

Capacity utilization rose to 77.6% last month from 77.3% in January. A 77.9% rate had been expected. Utilization in the factory sector rose to 78.0%, the highest rate since September 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) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2021 2020 2019
Total Output 0.5 1.4 -0.4 7.5 5.4 -7.2 -0.8
Manufacturing 1.2 0.1 -0.1 7.4 6.2 -6.6 -2.0
   Durable Goods 1.3 0.2 0.0 7.2 8.4 -8.2 -2.1
     Motor Vehicles & Parts -3.5 -0.3 -1.1 0.0 8.3 -15.7 -3.0
     Selected High Tech Equipment 1.8 0.0 0.5 7.8 11.0 7.1 3.9
   Nondurable Goods 1.1 -0.2 -0.1 8.4 4.3 -4.4 -1.8
Utilities -2.7 10.4 -2.6 -1.2 2.0 -3.4 -0.8
Mining 0.1 1.3 -0.1 17.3 2.7 -14.2 5.9
Capacity Utilization (%) 77.6 77.3 76.3 72.7 75.4 71.6 77.4
   Manufacturing 78.0 77.1 77.1 72.8 75.8 71.2 75.8
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