US Industrial Output Growth at 17-Month High

Industrial production in the United States went up 0.7 percent in April from March, rebounding from falls in the previous two months and beating market expectations of a 0.3 percent gain. It is the highest growth rate since November of 2014, led by gains in machinery and car manufacturing and utilities.

Manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent after declining the same amount in March. The production of durables rose 0.6 percent; the largest gains were recorded by machinery and by motor vehicles and parts, with increases of about 2 1/2 percent and 1 1/4 percent, respectively. Only a few durable goods industries posted declines, with the largest, about 1 1/4 percent, for primary metals. The output of nondurable manufacturing was unchanged in April, as gains in the indexes for food, beverage, and tobacco products and for plastics and rubber products offset declines for nearly all of the other industries. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) declined 0.4 percent.

The index for utilities jumped 5.8 percent in April, as the demand for electricity and natural gas returned to a more normal level after being suppressed by warmer-than-usual weather in March. 

In contrast, mining production fell 2.3 percent in April, reflecting substantial cutbacks in oil and natural gas extraction as well as reductions in coal mining and in oil and gas well drilling and servicing. The index for coal mining has fallen nearly 40 percent over the past 12 months.

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.5 percentage point in April to 75.4 percent, a rate that is 4.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2015) average.

US Industrial Output Growth at 17-Month High

Federal Reserve | Joana Taborda |
5/17/2016 2:27:43 PM