Bloomberg News

U.S. April Industrial Production and Capacity Report (Text)

May 16, 2012

Following is the text of the U.S. Industrial Production report for April:

Industrial production increased 1.1 percent in April. Output is now reported to have fallen 0.6 percent in March and to have moved up 0.4 percent in February; previously, industrial production was estimated to have been unchanged in both months. Manufacturing output increased 0.6 percent in April after having decreased 0.5 percent in March. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, which increased nearly 4 percent, manufacturing output moved up 0.3 percent, and output for all but a few major industries increased. Production at mines rose 1.6 percent, and the output of utilities gained 4.5 percent after unseasonably warm weather in the first quarter held down demand for heating. At 97.4 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production for April was 5.2 percent above its year-earlier level. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry moved up to 79.2 percent, a rate 3.1 percentage points above its level from a year earlier but 1.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2011) average.

Market Groups

The production of consumer goods increased 0.8 percent in April. The index for durable consumer goods rose 1.9 percent, led by a gain of 2.4 percent in automotive products. All other major categories of consumer durables posted gains of more than 1 percent. The production of nondurable consumer goods moved up 0.5 percent as a result of an increase of 2.5 percent in the index for consumer energy products. The output of non-energy nondurable consumer goods edged down 0.1 percent as a small gain in chemical products was more than offset by a decrease in foods and tobacco.

The production of business equipment moved up 1.5 percent in April after having risen 0.2 percent in March. The more rapid gain in April reflected improvement for all of the major business equipment categories, particularly transit equipment, which posted an increase of more than 3 percent for the third month this year.

The index for defense and space equipment rose 0.3 percent in April and was up 5.0 percent over the past 12 months.

The production of construction supplies was unchanged in April after falling 1.6 percent in March; it remained more than 20 percent below its level preceding the recession. The index for business supplies advanced 1.4 percent for its largest increase in more than 2 years.

The output of materials to be further processed in the industrial sector rose 1.3 percent in April. The index for durable materials increased 1.0 percent after having decreased 0.5 percent in March; growth in this category averaged 1.4 percent per month for November through February. Much of the increase in durable materials in April came from consumer parts, which advanced 2.7 percent and was boosted by an increase in the output of motor vehicle parts for use in newly assembled vehicles. The production of equipment parts moved up 1.3 percent, and the index for other durable materials rose 0.3 percent. The production of nondurable materials increased 0.3 percent, as all of its subcategories posted gains. The output index for energy materials jumped 2.2 percent after four straight months of declines.

Industry Groups

Manufacturing output increased 0.6 percent in April after having decreased 0.5 percent in March. Capacity utilization for manufacturing in April moved up 0.3 percentage point to 77.9 percent, a rate 14.1 percentage points above its trough in June 2009 but still 0.9 percentage point below its long-run average.

Within manufacturing, the output of durable goods increased 1.3 percent in April after having moved down 0.3 percent in March. With the exception of wood products, all major categories of durable goods rose. The largest gains were recorded by motor vehicles and parts, computers and electronic products, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, furniture and related products, and miscellaneous manufacturing.

The production of nondurable goods decreased 0.2 percent in April after having fallen 0.8 percent in March. Among the major components of nondurables, the most notable decrease in April was for petroleum and coal products, which dropped 2.6 percent. The largest gains were posted by the indexes for textile and product mills, for apparel and leather, for paper, and for printing and support.

The index for other manufacturing (non-NAICS), which consists of publishing and logging, edged down 0.1 percent.

Mining production increased 1.6 percent in April after having dropped 1.7 percent in March. Capacity utilization in mining moved up to 88.8 percent in April and was 1.5 percentage points above its long-run average. The output of utilities jumped 4.5 percent after having fallen at an annual rate of about 12 percent in each of the previous two quarters. After having been low from December through March, the operating rate for utilities climbed in April to 76.4 percent, a rate about the same as in November.

Capacity utilization rates in April at industries grouped by stage of process were as follows: At the crude stage, utilization increased 1 percentage point to 87.2 percent, a rate 0.9 percentage point above its long-run average; at the primary and semifinished stages, utilization increased 0.9 percentage point to 76.5 percent, a rate 4.6 percentage points below its long-run average; and at the finished stage, utilization increased 0.6 percentage point, to 78.8 percent, a rate 1.6 percentage points above its long-run average.

Notice Revision of Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization

The Federal Reserve Board issued its annual revision to the index of industrial production (IP) and the related measures of capacity utilization at noon EDT on March 30, 2012. The revised IP indexes incorporated detailed data from the 2010 Annual Survey of Manufactures, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Annual data from the U.S. Geological Survey regarding metallic and nonmetallic minerals (except fuels) for 2010 were also incorporated. The update included revisions to the monthly indicator and to seasonal factors for each industry. In addition, the estimation methods for some series have changed. Modifications to the methods for estimating the output of an industry did affect the index from 1972 to the present.

Capacity and capacity utilization were revised to incorporate data through the fourth quarter of 2011 from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Survey of Plant Capacity, which covers manufacturing, along with new data on capacity from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Energy, and other organizations.

The revision is available on the Board’s website at www.federalreserve.gov/releases/G17. Further information on the revision can be obtained from the Board’s Industrial Output Section (telephone number 202-452-3197).

References and Release Dates

References

The release for the annual revision that was published on March 30, 2012 is available on the Board’s website (www.federal reserve.gov/releases/g17/revisions/Current/DefaultRev.htm). A summary of the annual revision that incorporated back to 1972 production and capacity indexes reclassified according to the North American Industry Classification System is available in an article in the Federal Reserve Bulletin, vol. 89 (April 2003), pp. 151-176. A description of the aggregation methods for industrial production and capacity utilization is included in an article in the Federal Reserve Bulletin, vol. 83 (February 1997), pp. 67-92. The Federal Reserve methodology for constructing industry-level measures of capital is detailed in “Capital Stock Estimates for Manufacturing Industries: Methods and Data” by Mike Mohr and Charles Gilbert (1996), which can be obtained at: www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/CapitalStockDocLatest.pdf.

Industrial Production-1986 Edition contains a more detailed description of the other methods used to compile the industrial production index, plus a history of its development, a glossary of terms, and a bibliography. The major revisions to the IP indexes and capacity utilization since 1990 have been described in the Federal Reserve Bulletin (April 1990, June 1990, June 1993, March 1994, January 1995, January 1996, February 1997, February 1998, January 1999, March 2000, March 2001, March 2002, April 2003, Winter 2004, Winter 2005, March 2006, May 2007, August 2008, August 2009) or in an on-line staff study

(www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/articles/rev2010/industrial 10.pdf).

Release Schedule

At 9:15 a.m. on

2012: January 18, February 15, March 16, April 17, May 16, June 15, July 17, August 15, September 14, October 16, November 16, and December 14.


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