U.S. manufacturing production increased 0.5% in October

Source: The Federal Reserve System

Dec 03, 2010

Industrial production was unchanged in October after having fallen 0.2% in September. For the manufacturing sector, output gained 0.5% in October after having risen 0.1% in September. Factory production in September was initially reported to have decreased 0.2%, but incoming data on steel, fabricated metal products, machinery, and chemicals helped boost the index. The output of utilities dropped 3.4% in October, as unseasonably warm temperatures reduced demand for heating. Production at mines fell 0.1%. At 93.4% of its 2007 average, total industrial production in October was 5.3% above its year-earlier level. The capacity utilization rate for total industry was flat at 74.8%, a rate 6.6 percentage points above the low in June 2009 and 5.8 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009.

Production in manufacturing rose 0.5% in October, and the factory operating rate moved up to 72.7%, a rate 6.5 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009. The output of durable goods increased 0.9%, with increases in most major categories. After having declined the previous four months, the output of wood products jumped 2.5%; the indexes for nonmetallic mineral products and for electrical equipment, appliances, and components also increased by 2.0% or more. Within durable manufacturing, only the index for primary metals fell, at a rate of 0.4%.

The production of nondurable goods moved up 0.2% in October after having risen 0.4% in September. The output of apparel and leather increased by the largest proportion, and the production of food, beverage, and tobacco products, of paper, and of plastics and rubber products also rose. The indexes for printing, for petroleum and coal products, and for chemicals declined. The index for other manufacturing (non-NAICS), which consists of publishing and logging, was unchanged after having declined in the previous four months.

Mining production edged down 0.1% in October, and its utilization rate fell to 87.9%, a rate 0.5 percentage point above its average from 1972 to 2009. The index for utilities dropped 3.4%; the output of electric utilities declined for a third consecutive month, while the output of natural gas utilities fell for a second month in a row. The operating rate for utilities decreased 2.8 percentage points, to 76.6%.

In October, capacity utilization rates at industries grouped by stage of process were as follows: For the crude stage, the operating rate increased 0.1 percentage point, to 87.3%, a rate that was 0.8 percentage point above its average from 1972 to 2009; for the primary and semifinished stages, utilization declined 0.5 percentage point, to 71.0%, a rate 10.6 percentage points below its long-run average; and for the finished stage, utilization increased 0.5 percentage point, to 74.5%, a rate 3.0 percentage points below its long-run average.

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