Industrial Production Up In November; Manufacturing Reverses Declines

Manufacturing production increases 0.3 percent after declining for two months.

Industrial production rose 0.2 percent in November, but due to weaker incoming data for durable manufacturing, proudction for October was revised down to show no change from its September level, the Federal Reserve said  Friday.

Manufacturing production increased 0.3 percent in November after two previous months of declines, and was significantly boosted by a sharp increase in the production of motor vehicles and parts.

In other manufacturing sectors, production remain unchanged. Mine output dropped by 0.2 percent, and utility output was down 0.1 percent.

“U.S. industrial production continues to show a pattern of slowing growth, but is not likely to fall into recession,” said Thomas J. Duesterberg, President and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. “Inventory building will have to be offset in coming months, and a downward revision to October’s data on durable goods underscores softness in that sector. Construction related components were very weak again in November, while capital investment sectors such as aerospace, transportation equipment and computers helped to offset the underperforming sectors. Auto production was off from multi-year lows in October, but recent production cutbacks signal more weakness in the future.”

The rate of capacity utilization for total industry held steady at 81.8 percent, a level 0.8 percentage point above its 1972-2005 average.

Consumer goods output increased 0.3 percent and was led by a gain of 1.5 percent in the output of durable consumer goods.

The production index for automotive products increased 3 1/2 percent after sharp decreases in September and October. The output of defense and space equipment was down 1/2 percent and was about 3 percent higher than its year-earlier level.

Durable goods output rose 0.7 percent, although the gains were spread unevenly among the durable goods industries.

The output of motor vehicles and parts increased 3 3/4 percent, reversing its October drop, which was at its lowest level in more than 4 1/2 years. Yet, despite the jump in November, output was still 2 1/2 percent below its year-earlier level.

The production indexes for computers and electronic products and miscellaneous goods both posted gains greater than 1 percent, and the indexes for aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, for machinery, and for electrical equipment, appliances, and components also increased.

Capacity utilization in manufacturing remained unchanged in November at 80.3 percent, about 1/2 percentage point above its 1972-2005 average.

The operating rates for both mining and utilities fell 0.3 percentage point. The rate for mining was almost 4 percentage points above its long-run average, while the rate for utilities was about equal to its long-run average.

The utilization rate for industries at the primary and semifinished stages dropped 0.6 percentage point, to 82.8 percent, while the utilization rate for finished goods producers increased 0.6 percentage point, to 78.2 percent.

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