Industrial production dropped in March
Industrial production decreased 0.6 percent in March for a second month in a row.
For the first quarter as a whole, industrial production fell at an annual rate of 2.2 percent. A substantial portion of the overall decrease in March resulted from declines in the indexes for mining and utilities, which fell 2.9 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively; in addition, manufacturing output fell 0.3 percent. The sizable decrease in mining production continued the industry's recent downward trajectory; the index has fallen in each of the past seven months, at an average pace of 1.6 percent per month. At 103.4 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in March was 2.0 percent below its year-earlier level.
Manufacturing output decreased 0.3 percent in March. The production of durables moved down 0.4 percent. The largest declines, about 1 1/2 percent, were registered both by motor vehicles and parts and by electrical equipment, appliances, and components. Several industries posted increases, with the largest, nearly 1 percent, for computer and electronic products. After increasing 0.9 percent in January and decreasing 0.5 percent in February, the output of nondurable manufacturing edged down in March, as gains in the production of petroleum and coal products and of chemicals nearly offset declines for most other industries. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell almost 1 percent. For the first quarter, manufacturing output moved up at an annual rate of 0.6 percent, roughly reversing its small decrease in the fourth quarter of last year.