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Industrial production was unchanged in February following a 0.1 percent decrease in January. In February, manufacturing output moved up 0.5 percent for its sixth consecutive monthly increase. Mining output jumped 2.7 percent, but the index for utilities fell 5.7 percent, as continued unseasonably warm weather further reduced demand for heating. At 104.7 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in February was 0.3 percent above its level of a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector declined 0.1 percentage point in February to 75.4 percent, a rate that is 4.5 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.

Market Groups

Most of the major non-energy market groups recorded increases in February. For a second consecutive month, however, a drop in the output of utilities contributed substantially to losses in the overall indexes for consumer goods, business supplies, and materials through their energy components. The production of consumer goods moved down 0.4 percent overall, reflecting a drop in consumer energy products. The index for consumer durables was unchanged, as a loss of 3.6 percent in appliances, furniture, and carpeting was outweighed by increases in other groups. The production of consumer non-energy nondurables rose 0.3 percent because of improvements in foods and tobacco and in clothing. The output of business equipment moved up 0.7 percent, with both information processing equipment and industrial and other equipment recording increases. The output of construction supplies jumped 1.3 percent; the index has advanced more than 4 percent over the past six months. The indexes for non-energy business supplies and non-energy materials each rose more than 1/2 percent. Within materials, both durable and nondurable materials posted gains.

Industry Groups

Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in February for a second consecutive month. Led by advances of more than 1 percent for nonmetallic mineral products, fabricated metal products, and machinery, the production of durables increased 0.6 percent. The electrical equipment, appliance, and component industry and the furniture and related products industry registered the only substantial losses within durables, about 1.5 percent each. The index for nondurables rose 0.4 percent; gains of more than 1 percent were recorded by paper and by plastics and rubber products, while the only losses were posted by textile and product mills and by chemicals. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell 0.5 percent.

The output of mining jumped 2.7 percent in February, with widespread gains among its components, after moving up 2.2 percent in January. The mining index in February was 1.8 percent higher than its year-earlier level.

Capacity utilization for manufacturing rose 0.3 percentage point in February to 75.6 percent, a rate that is 2.8 percentage points below its long-run average. The operating rate for durables, at 76.7 percent, is 0.2 percentage point below its long-run average; the rates for nondurables and for other manufacturing (publishing and logging), at 75.4 percent and 60.5 percent, respectively, remain significantly below their long-run averages. Utilization for mining jumped 2.1 percentage points to 80.5 percent but is still well below its long-run average. The operating rate for utilities fell 4.4 percentage points to 70.9 percent, its lowest recorded level.

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