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Industrial production and capacity utilization data for March 2016 are now available.
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. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 0.5 percentage point in March to 74.8 percent, a rate that is 5.2 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2015) average.