US Industrial Output Rebounds Firmly in August

US industrial output rose 0.6 percent from a month earlier in August 2019, following a revised 0.1 percent fall in July and easily beating market forecasts of a 0.2 percent growth. That was the largest gain in industrial output since August 2018.
Federal Reserve | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com 9/17/2019 2:52:24 PM
Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in August, as the indexes for durables and for nondurables increased while the index for other manufacturing (publishing and logging) edged down. Production rose for most major categories within durable manufacturing (0.5 percent vs -0.2 percent). The largest gains were recorded by machinery (1.6 percent vs -1.7 percent), primary metal (1.3 percent vs 0.3 percent), and nonmetallic mineral products (1.1 percent vs -1.2 percent); the only sizable decline was recorded by motor vehicles and parts (1.0 percent vs 0.5 percent). The gain of 0.5 percent for nondurables reflected strength in plastics and rubber products (2.6 percent vs -2.7 percent) and in chemicals (1.1 percent vs -0.1 percent); the other major nondurable goods industries registered either declines or very small increases.

Mining output increased 1.4 percent in August after having fallen a similar amount in July; output in July had been suppressed by a cutback in oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Barry. The output of utilities increased 0.6 percent, with gains in both electric (0.6 percent vs 4.2 percent) and natural gas utilities (0.5 percent vs 1.0 percent).

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4 percentage point in August to 77.9 percent, a rate that is 1.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2018) average. Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased 0.3 percentage point to 75.7 percent in August, a rate that is 2.6 percentage points below its long-run average. The operating rates for both durable and nondurable manufacturing increased 0.3 percentage point. The utilization rate for mining moved up to 90.5 percent, a bit lower than its average in the three months before Hurricane Barry but 3.4 percentage points higher than its long-run average. The rate for utilities increased 0.3 percentage point but remained well below its long-run average.

US Industrial Output Rebounds Firmly in August