Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Apr 16 2024

U.S. Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization Improve in March

  • Rise in production follows upward revision to February gain.
  • Factory output improves moderately; utilities production increases.
  • Capacity utilization edges higher.

Total industrial production increased 0.4% during March, but was unchanged y/y. The gain came after rising 0.4% in February, revised from 0.1%, and falling 0.8% in January, revised from a 0.5% decline. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a 0.5% increase in production last month.

Manufacturing production rose 0.5% (0.8% y/y) after increasing 1.2% in February, revised from 0.8%. A 1.1% January decline was unrevised. Mining output fell 1.4% (-2.0% y/y) after a 3.0% February increase. Utilities production rose 2.0% (-3.1% y/y) after a minimally-revised 7.6% in February decline.

In the manufacturing sector, production of durable goods rose 0.3% (1.9% y/y) in March after a 1.3% February rise. Motor vehicle & parts production strengthened 3.1% last month (10.5% y/y) but machinery output weakened 0.4% (-3.1% y/y). Electrical equipment & appliance output eased 0.4% both m/m and y/y. Primary metals production declined 0.7% (-0.6% y/y) while computer & electronic product production improved 0.1% (6.9% y/y). In the nondurable goods sector, factory output rose 0.7% last month (0.1% y/y) after rising 1.1% in February. Chemical production strengthened 0.7% (1.3% y/y) and printing production improved 1.5% (-1.1% y/y). Paper output increased 0.6% (-0.1% y/y) and textile output fell 1.4% (-5.5% y/y). Food, beverage & tobacco production fell 0.5% (-2.1% y/y). Petroleum & coal product output rose 4.8% (5.2% y/y) but apparel production declined 1.7% (-16.4% y/y), off for the fifth straight month.

The major market groups posted mixed results in March. Consumer goods output rose 1.2% (-0.4% y/y) as a 1.0% rise (-1.8% y/y) in nondurable goods production accompanied a 1.9% increase (5.0% y/y) in durable goods output. Business equipment production improved 0.1% last month (1.7% y/y) while construction supplies output fell 1.0% (-0.5% y/y). Materials output held steady (-0.3% y/y) in March.

In special aggregates, output of selected high-tech industries rose 0.3% (14.1% y/y) following a 1.1% February decline. Manufacturing output excluding selected high-tech production rose 0.5% (0.6% y/y) after rising 1.3% in February. Manufacturing output excluding selected high-tech industries and motor vehicle production rose 0.3% (-0.2% y/y) in March after strengthening 1.1% in February.

Total capacity utilization was rose to 78.4% in March from 78.2% in February. A 78.6% utilization rate had been expected. Capacity utilization for manufacturing improved to 77.4% in March from 77.1% in February. The capacity utilization rate for mining fell to 91.0% from 92.3. The operating rate for utilities increased to 69.1% last month from 67.9% in February.

Industrial production and capacity data 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.

Economic Uncertainty and the Evolution of Monetary Policymaking from Fed Vice Chair Philip N. Jefferson is available here.

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

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