Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization - G.17
Industrial Production Explanatory Notes
Coverage. The industrial production (IP) index measures the real output of all manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utility establishments located in the United States, regardless of their ownership, but not those located in U.S. territories; the reference period for the index is 2007. Manufacturing consists of those industries included in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) definition of manufacturing plus those industries—newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishing plus logging—that have traditionally been considered to be manufacturing. For the period since 1997, the total IP index has been constructed from 312 individual series based on the 2007 NAICS codes. These individual series are classified in two ways: (1) market groups, and (2) industry groups. Market groups consist of products and materials. Total products are the aggregate of final products, such as consumer goods and equipment, and nonindustrial supplies (which are inputs to nonindustrial sectors). Materials are inputs in the manufacture of products. Major industry groups include three-digit NAICS industries and aggregates of these industries—for example, durable and nondurable manufacturing, mining, and utilities. A complete description of the market and industry structures, including details regarding series classification, relative importance weights, and data sources, is available.
Source Data. On a monthly basis, the individual indexes of industrial production are constructed from two main types of source data: (1) output measured in physical units and (2) data on inputs to the production process, from which output is inferred. Data on physical products, such as tons of steel or barrels of oil, are obtained from private trade associations and from government agencies; data of this type are used to estimate monthly IP wherever possible and appropriate. Production indexes for a few industries are derived by dividing estimated nominal output (calculated using unit production and unit values or sales) by a corresponding Fisher price index; the most notable of these fall within the high-technology grouping and include computers, communications equipment, and semiconductors. When suitable direct measures of product are not available, estimates of output are based on production-worker hours by industry. Data on hours worked by production workers are collected in the monthly establishment survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The factors used to convert inputs into estimates of production are based on historical relationships between the inputs and the comprehensive annual data used to benchmark the IP indexes; these factors also may be influenced by technological or cyclical developments. The annual data used in benchmarking the individual IP indexes are constructed from a variety of source data, such as the quinquennial Censuses of Manufactures and Mineral Industries and the Annual Survey of Manufactures, prepared by the Bureau of the Census; the Minerals Yearbook, prepared by the United States Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior; and publications of the Department of Energy.
Aggregation Methodology and Weights. The aggregation method for the IP
index is a version of the Fisher-ideal index formula. (For a detailed
discussion of the aggregation method, see the Federal Reserve Bulletins
of February 1997
and March 2001.)
In the IP index, series that measure the
output of an individual industry are combined using weights derived from
their proportion in the total value-added output of all industries. The IP
index, which extends back to 1919, is built as a chain-type index since
1972. The current formula for the growth in monthly IP (or any of the
sub-aggregates) since 1972 is shown below. An output index for month m
is denoted by I
The IP proportions (typically shown in the first column of the relevant tables in the G.17 release) are estimates of the industries' relative contributions to overall growth in the following year. For example, the relative importance weight of the motor vehicles and parts industry is about 6 percent. If output in this industry increased 10 percent in a month, then this gain would boost growth in total IP by 6/10 percentage point (0.06 x 10% = 0.6%). To assist users with calculations, the Federal Reserve's website provides supplemental monthly statistics that represent the exact proportionate contribution of a monthly change in a component index to the monthly change in the total index.
Timing. The first estimate of output for a month is published
around the 15th of the following month. The estimate is preliminary
(denoted by the superscript "p" in tables) and subject to revision
in each of the subsequent five months as new source data become
available. (Revised estimates are denoted by the superscript "r" in
tables.) For the first estimate of output for a given month, about 72
percent of the source data (in value-added terms) are available; the
fraction of available source data increases to 84 percent for
estimates in the second month that the estimate is published, 94
percent in the third month, 95 percent in the fourth month, 97 percent
in the fifth month, and 97 percent in the sixth month. Data
availability by data type in early 2014 is summarized in the table
Availability of Monthly IP Data in Publication Window
Type of Data
|Month of estimate|
|IP data received||72||84||94||95||97||97|
|IP data estimated||28||16||6||5||3||3|
The physical product group includes series based on either monthly or quarterly data. As can be seen in the first row of the table, in the first month, a physical product indicator is available for about half of the series (in terms of value added) that ultimately are based on physical product data (32 percent out of a total of 58 percent). Of the 32 percent, about two-thirds (19 percent of total IP) include series that are derived from weekly physical product data and for which actual monthly data may lag up to several months. On average, quarterly product data are received for the fourth estimate of industrial production. Specifically, quarterly data are available for the third estimate of the last month of a quarter, the fourth estimate of the second month of a quarter, and the fifth estimate of the first month of a quarter.
Seasonal Adjustment. Individual series are seasonally adjusted using Census X-12 ARIMA. For series based on production-worker hours, the current seasonal factors were estimated with data through January 2013; for other series, the factors were estimated with data through at least December 2012. Series are pre-adjusted for the effects of holidays or business cycles when appropriate. For the data since 1972, all seasonally adjusted aggregate indexes are calculated by aggregating the seasonally adjusted indexes of the individual series.
Reliability. The average revision to the level of the total IP index, without regard to sign, between the first and the fourth estimates was 0.27 percent during the 1987–2013 period. The average revision to the percent change in total IP, without regard to sign, from the first to the fourth estimates was 0.21 percentage point during the 1987–2013 period. In most cases (about 85 percent), the direction of the change in output indicated by the first estimate for a given month is the same as that shown by the fourth estimate.
Rounding. The published percent changes are calculated from unrounded indexes, and may not be the same as percent changes calculated from the rounded indexes shown in the release.
References. The release for the annual revision that was published on March 28, 2014, is available. A summary of the annual revision that incorporated back to 1972 production and capacity indexes reclassified according to NAICS is available in an article in the Federal Reserve Bulletin, vol. 89 (April 2003), pp. 151–176. A description of the aggregation methods for industrial production and capacity utilization is included in an article in the Federal Reserve Bulletin, vol. 83 (February 1997), pp. 67–92. The Federal Reserve methodology for constructing industry-level measures of capital is detailed in "Capital Stock Estimates for Manufacturing Industries: Methods and Data" by Mike Mohr and Charles Gilbert (1996).
Industrial Production—1986 Edition contains a more detailed description of the other methods used to compile the industrial production index, plus a history of its development, a glossary of terms, and a bibliography. The major revisions to the IP indexes and capacity utilization since 1990 have been described in the Federal Reserve Bulletin (April 1990, June 1990, June 1993, March 1994, January 1995, January 1996, February 1997, February 1998, January 1999, March 2000, March 2001, March 2002, April 2003, Winter 2004, Winter 2005, March 2006, May 2007, August 2008, August 2009) or in online staff studies (April 2011, February 2014 (for March 30, 2012 revision), February 2014 (for March 22, 2013 revision)).