Utilities output shrank 7.3 percent in December, following a revised 4.2 percent increase in the previous month.
Manufacturing rose 0.3 percent in December and at an annual rate of 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing output in December was 4.9 percent above its level of a year earlier. The production of durable goods increased 0.2 percent in December, and the production of nondurable goods rose 0.4 percent. Among major durable goods industries, primary metals posted the largest increase, 2.2 percent, while computers and electronic products registered a gain of 1.2 percent. The largest declines, of nearly 1 percent or more, were recorded by wood products and by motor vehicles and parts. Production increased for most nondurable goods industries, with the largest advance recorded by apparel and leather; only the plastics and rubber products industry registered a decrease. The production index for other manufacturing industries (publishing and logging) declined 0.3 percent.
The output of mining jumped 2.2 percent in December. Much of the strength reflected increases in oil and gas extraction, but a drop in drilling and well-servicing activity at oil and gas fields tempered the gains.
At 106.5 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production in December was 4.9 percent above its level of a year earlier. For the fourth quarter of 2014 as a whole, industrial production advanced at an annual rate of 5.6 percent, with widespread gains among the major market and industry groups.
Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.3 percentage point in December to 79.7 percent, a rate that is 0.4 percentage point below its long-run (1972–2013) average.