US Industrial Output Rises the Most in 6 Months

Industrial production in the United States increased 0.9 percent month-over-month in October of 2017, following an upwardly revised 0.4 percent rise in September and beating market expectations of 0.5 percent. It is the biggest gain in industrial output since April, amid a return to normal operations after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suppressed production in August and September. Manufacturing and utilities increased while mining fell, as Hurricane Nate caused a sharp but short-lived decline in oil and gas drilling and extraction. Excluding the effects of the hurricanes, the index for total output advanced about 0.3 percent.

Manufacturing output rose 1.3 percent in October, and upward revisions to previous months reduced the decrease estimated for the third quarter to 1.2 percent at an annual rate. In October, the index for durables increased 0.4 percent, and the index for nondurables increased 2.3 percent. Most durable goods industries posted gains, with the largest advance, 1.0 percent, recorded by motor vehicles and parts. Gains were also widespread among nondurable goods producers; notably, the return to more normal levels of production following the hurricanes led to jumps of 5.8 percent for chemicals and 4.0 percent for petroleum and coal products.

In October, the decline of 1.3 percent in mining output reflected reductions in all of its major components. The index for utilities rose 2.0 percent; output in August was revised up from a drop of 4.9 percent to a decline of 1.3 percent, and the rate of change in September was revised down from an increase of 1.5 percent to a decrease of 1.0 percent.

Capacity utilization for manufacturing was 76.4 percent in October, a rate that is 2.0 percentage points below its long-run average. Utilization for durables increased 0.2 percentage point to 75.7 percent, and the operating rate for nondurables rose 1.7 percentage points to 78.1 percent. The operating rate for mines fell 1.3 percentage points to 82.4 percent, and the rate for utilities rose 1.5 percentage points to 77.2 percent.

With modest upward revisions for July through September, industrial production is now estimated to have only edged down 0.3 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter; the previously published estimate showed a decrease of 1.5 percent.

US Industrial Output Rises the Most in 6 Months

Federal Reserve | Joana Taborda |
11/16/2017 2:26:56 PM