Manufacturing production fell 0.9 percent in January, following a 0.8 percent rise in December. Within durable manufacturing, motor vehicles and parts posted the steepest contraction (-8.8 percent vs 4.3 percent in December), as vehicle assemblies fell to 10.6 million units at an annual rate in January (their lowest reading since May 2018) from 12.3 million units in December (their highest monthly pace since June 2016). Most other major durable goods industries also recorded decreases: machinery (-0.5 percent vs -1.1 percent); computer and electronic products (-1.4 percent vs 1.7 percent); aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment (-0.3 percent vs 2.7 percent); primary metals (-0.2 percent vs -0.3 percent); and nonmetallic mineral products (-0.8 percent vs 3.1 percent). By contrast, fabricated metal products output increased 0.4 percent after a 0.2 percent gain in the previous month. Among nondurables, declines in production of chemicals (-0.4 percent vs -0.2 percent) and food, beverage, and tobacco products (-0.1 percent vs 0.9 percent) were offset by an increase in petroleum and coal products output (1.5 percent vs 3.2 percent).
Mining output edged up 0.1 percent in January, easing from a 1.5 percent growth in the previous month. The output of utilities increased 0.4 percent (vs -6.9 percent in December), with natural gas utilities rising 6 percent after falling 19 percent a month earlier.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing declined 0.7 percentage point in January to 75.8 percent, about 2 1/2 percentage points below its long-run average. The utilization rate for mining fell to 94.8 percent but remained well above its long-run average of 87.1 percent. The operating rate for utilities increased to 75.4 percent, a rate that is about 10 percentage points below its long-run average.