Posted May 16, 2023

Fed: Most major market groups recorded growth in April

Industrial production rose 0.5% in April after moving sideways the previous two months, the Federal Reserve Board reported.

In April, manufacturing increased 1.0%, bolstered by a strong gain in the output of motor vehicles and parts; factory output excluding motor vehicles and parts moved up 0.4%. The index for mining rose 0.6%, while the index for utilities dropped 3.1%, as milder temperatures in April lowered demand for heating. At 103.0% of its 2017 average, total industrial production in April was 0.2% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization edged up to 79.7% in April, a rate that is equal to its long-run (1972–2022) average.

Market Groups

Most major market groups recorded growth in April. The production of consumer durables was boosted by an 8.4% jump in the output of automotive products. Elsewhere, there were gains in business equipment (1.2%), defense and space equipment (1.1%), non-energy materials (0.8%), and construction supplies (0.4%). In contrast, nondurable consumer goods, business supplies, and energy materials all posted slight declines for the month.

Industry Groups

Manufacturing output increased 1.0% in April; however, the growth rates for both February and March were revised down 0.3%age point. All told, the index for manufacturing in April was 0.9% below its year-earlier level. Durable and nondurable manufacturing advanced 1.4% and 0.6% in April, respectively. Other manufacturing (publishing and logging) ticked down 0.1%. Industry groups within durable manufacturing posted somewhat mixed results, with the largest increase coming from motor vehicles and parts (9.3%) and the largest decrease coming from miscellaneous manufacturing (1.4%). Within nondurables, plastics and rubber products recorded the largest gain (1.2%), while apparel and leather recorded the largest loss (0.8%).

Mining output climbed 0.6% in April, with growth primarily coming from oil and gas extraction. The output of utilities declined 3.1%, as both electric and natural gas utilities production moved down.

Capacity utilization for manufacturing moved up 0.7%age point in April to 78.3%, a rate that is 0.1%age point above its long-run (1972–2022) average. The operating rate for mining rose 0.6%age point to 91.8%, while the operating rate for utilities fell 2.6%age points to 72.7%. The rate for mining was 5.4%age points above its long-run average, while the rate for utilities remained well below its long-run average.

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