US Industrial Production Drops the Most in 8 Years

Industrial output in the US shrank 0.9 percent month-over-month in August of 2017, following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in July and missing market expectations of a 0.1 percent increase. It is the first drop in industrial output since January and the biggest since May 2009 as Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast of Texas in late August, is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 3/4 percentage point.

The index for manufacturing decreased 0.3 percent; storm-related effects appear to have reduced the rate of change in factory output in August about 3/4 percentage point. The manufacturing industries with the largest estimated storm-related effects were petroleum refining, organic chemicals, and plastics materials and resins.

The output of mining fell 0.8 percent in August, as Hurricane Harvey temporarily curtailed drilling, servicing, and extraction activity for oil and natural gas. The output of utilities dropped 5.5 percent, as unseasonably mild temperatures, particularly on the East Coast, reduced the demand for air conditioning.

At 104.7 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in August was 1.5 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.8 percentage point in August to 76.1 percent, a rate that is 3.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.

US Industrial Production Drops the Most in 8 Years

Federal Reserve | Joana Taborda |
9/15/2017 2:01:53 PM