January U.S. Factory Production Rises For 4th Time In 5 Months

U.S. industrial production has grown a healthy 0.9 percent over the past two months, with machinery manufacturing registering the largest durable goods gain in January.

U.S. industrial production decreased 0.3 percent in January, following a 0.6 percent increase in December. In January, manufacturing output moved up 0.2 percent, and mining output jumped 2.8 percent. The index for utilities fell 5.7 percent, largely because unseasonably warm weather reduced the demand for heating. At 104.6 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in January was at about the same level as it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector fell 0.3 percentage point in January to 75.3 percent, a rate that is 4.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.

Market Groups

In January, most of the major non-energy market groups recorded increases, but the 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 decrease of 0.8 percent for overall consumer goods reflected both a drop in consumer energy products and a decline in consumer durables.
  • The decline for consumer durables resulted primarily from a loss of 2.8 percent for its largest major category, automotive products.
  • The index for consumer non-energy nondurables rose 0.3 percent by virtue of an increase in the foods and tobacco product group.
  • The output of business equipment edged up, as gains in information processing equipment and in industrial and other equipment offset a decline in transit equipment.
  • The index for defense and space equipment remained unchanged from its level in December.
  • The output of construction supplies advanced 0.9 percent, while the index for non-energy business supplies gained 0.3 percent.
  • The production of non-energy materials moved up 0.5 percent, with improvement in both durable and nondurable materials.

Industry Groups

The index for manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent in January. Although the output of motor vehicles and parts decreased 2.9 percent, production elsewhere in manufacturing moved up 0.5 percent.

The production of durables edged down, but most of its components other than motor vehicles and parts recorded gains; machinery manufacturing registered the biggest advance.

The index for nondurables rose 0.6 percent, as increases of 1 percent or more were posted by textile and product mills, by petroleum and coal products, and by chemicals. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell 0.7 percent.

The output of mining jumped 2.8 percent in January after declining in December, with most mining industries posting increases. The mining index in January was 0.4 percent higher than its year-earlier level.

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