July Midwest Manufacturing Activity Up

Auto sector, machinery and steel production boost the index 0.6 percent from June.

CHICAGO (Dow Jones/AP) — Manufacturing activity in five Midwestern states up in July, rising 0.6 percent from June, according to figures released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The July index, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, climbed to 106.0, from an upwardly revised 105.3 in June. The Chicago Fed had initially pegged the June index at 104.9.
Regional output last month was up 0.5 percent, compared with July 2006. However, the year-over-year increase lagged behind the 1.9 percent gain in national output.
While indicating economic growth in the factory sector, the latest numbers were compiled before problems in U.S. subprime mortgages spilled over to broader credit markets and sparked concerns about a potential economic slowdown.
The index uses hours worked to calculate monthly changes in regional activity, and registered gains in all four manufacturing sectors. The largest increase was in resource output, while the smallest gain was in auto production.
The Chicago Fed said the output of raw materials rose 1.0 percent in July after rising 1.2 percent in June.
Nationwide, resource production grew 0.6 percent. Compared to the same time a year ago, regional resource output was 3.2 percent higher in July, stronger than the 1.0 percent increase in national production.
Meanwhile, auto sector production gained 0.3 percent in July after a 0.1 percent increase in June. National auto output was up 1.1 percent last month, according to the Chicago Fed. Compared to year-ago levels, Midwest auto production fell 0.1 percent, while national output rose 4.5 percent.
The Chicago Fed also reported machinery production in the Midwest increased 0.8 percent in July after a 0.2 percent rise in June. July output matched the 0.8 percent gain on a national basis. However, regional machinery output fell 0.7 percent compared with July 2006, well below national figures showing a 5.0 percent increase.
Steel production was up 0.7 percent in the Midwest during July, having fallen by 0.3 percent in June. Nationally, steel output during July was also 0.7 percent higher. Compared to July 2006, regional steel production was down 0.7 percent last month, while national steel output was unchanged.