U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION DOWN 0.1%
FRB - Industrial production edged down 0.1 percent in January following four consecutive monthly increases. Manufacturing production was unchanged in January. Mining output fell 1.0 percent, with all of its major component industries recording declines, while the index for utilities moved up 0.6 percent. At 107.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 3.7 percent higher in January than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector fell 0.2 percentage point in January to 77.5 percent, a rate that is 2.3 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.
In January, the output of consumer goods moved up 0.3 percent; much of the gain reflected an increase of 1.0 percent for consumer energy products. The output of durable consumer goods rose about 1/2 percent, while the output of non-energy nondurables was unchanged. Business equipment registered a gain of 0.9 percent mostly as a result of advances of 1.0 percent or more posted by information processing equipment and by industrial and other equipment. The index for defense and space equipment slipped 0.2 percent after having increased in six of the previous seven months. The output of construction supplies dropped 1.4 percent, while the index for business supplies fell back 0.2 percent. The production of materials moved down 0.3 percent, with consumer parts and paper materials posting drops that were greater than 1 percent.
Manufacturing output was unchanged in January for a second consecutive month; the index has increased 1.8 percent over the past 12 months. Major manufacturing industries recorded a broad mix of gains and losses in January. The production of durables moved up 0.2 percent, and the index for nondurables was unchanged. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell 1.4 percent.
In January, the output of mining declined 1.0 percent for a second consecutive monthly loss. Even so, the mining index for January was 8.8 percent higher than its year-earlier level because of strength in the oil and natural gas sector.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing was unchanged in January at 76.2 percent, a rate that is 2.1 percentage points below its long-run average. The operating rate for durables, at 76.1 percent, was less than 1 percentage point below its long-run average, whereas the rates for nondurables and for other manufacturing (publishing and logging), at 77.4 percent and 60.1 percent, respectively, were further below their long-run averages of about 80 percent for each. Utilization for mining fell 1.4 percentage points to 84.2 percent, but the rate for utilities rose 0.3 percentage point to 81.1 percent. Capacity utilization rates for both mining and utilities remained below their long-run averages.
Note: Preliminary Estimates of Industrial Capacity
The data in this release include preliminary estimates of industrial capacity for 2018. Measured from fourth quarter to fourth quarter, total industrial capacity is projected to rise 2.3 percent this year after increasing 1.1 percent in 2017. Manufacturing capacity is expected to advance 1.5 percent in 2018, somewhat faster than the 0.7 percent pace in 2017. Capacity in the mining sector is estimated to rise 6.3 percent in 2018 following a smaller increase of 2.7 percent in 2017. Capacity at electric and natural gas utilities is projected to increase 2.5 percent in 2018 after moving up 0.7 percent in 2017.
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