U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION UP 0.7%
FRB - Industrial production rose 0.7 percent in April for its third consecutive monthly increase. The rates of change for industrial production for previous months were revised downward, on net; for the first quarter, output is now reported to have advanced 2.3 percent at an annual rate. After being unchanged in March, manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in April. The indexes for mining and utilities moved up 1.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. At 107.3 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in April was 3.5 percent higher than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector climbed 0.4 percentage point in April to 78.0 percent, a rate that is 1.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.
The rise in industrial production in April was supported by increases for every major market group. Consumer goods, business equipment, and defense and space equipment posted gains of nearly 1 percent or more, while construction supplies, business supplies, and materials recorded smaller increases.
Within consumer goods, the output of nondurables rose nearly 1 1/2 percent in April, as both consumer energy products and non-energy nondurable consumer goods posted increases. The output of durable consumer goods declined about 1/2 percent, mostly because of a sizable drop in automotive products. The advance in business equipment resulted from gains for information processing equipment and for industrial and other equipment, while the rise in materials was led by an increase for energy materials.
Manufacturing output moved up 0.5 percent in April; for the first quarter, the index registered a downwardly revised increase of 1.4 percent at an annual rate. In April, the indexes for durables and nondurables each gained about 1/2 percent, while the production of other manufacturing industries (publishing and logging) rose nearly 1 percent. Among durables, advances of more than 1 percent were posted by machinery; computer and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment. The largest losses, slightly more than 1 percent, were recorded by motor vehicles and parts and by wood products. The increase in nondurables reflected widespread gains among its industries.
The output of mining rose 1.1 percent in April and was 10.6 percent above its year-earlier level. The increase in the mining index for April reflected further gains in the oil and gas sector but was tempered by a drop in coal mining.
In April, the index for utilities advanced 1.9 percent. The output of electric utilities was little changed, but the output of gas utilities jumped more than 10 percent as a result of strong demand for heating due to below-normal temperatures.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing rose to 75.8 percent in April, a rate that is 2.5 percentage points below its long-run average. Increases were observed in all three main categories of manufacturing. The operating rates for durables and nondurables each moved up about 1/4 percentage point, and the rate for other manufacturing rose about 3/4 percentage point. Utilization for mining rose about 1/2 percentage point and remained above its long-run average; the rate for utilities jumped more than 1 percentage point.
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