Performance Evaluation of the Federal Reserve G.17 (419) Statistical Release
June 2020 PDF

IV. Data Publication and Availability

IV.A. Description of the Statistical Release, G.17 (419)

The statistical release “Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization” is usually 18 to 20 pages. It provides timely monthly data on industrial production and capacity utilization on a regular schedule. The release includes a text summary of the latest changes in output and utilization by market group (IP) and by industry group (IP and utilization), special announcements, a summary table and related charts, and more detailed tables showing seasonally adjusted industrial production classified by market and industry groups. In addition, special analytical aggregates, such as for high technology, energy, and motor vehicles, are shown; industries grouped into stage of processing are reported as well. IP indexes for more detailed industries and market groups are available in the supplement to the G.17. Indexes of capacity and capacity utilization also are presented, as is supplementary information on motor vehicle assemblies, the gross value of products, and diffusion indexes of IP. Finally, a table displaying reliability measures for the major aggregates is also presented.

Detailed explanations of the annual revisions to IP and capacity were described in the press releases issued on March 23, 2018, and March 27, 2019. Announcements about upcoming annual revisions to the G.17 appear at least three months before the publication of the revised data in each year. Besides the regular annual revisions, users are notified in the G.17 of any significant interim changes, such as any midyear updating of seasonal factors or capacity indexes; notifications are also provided online via RSS feeds and on Twitter. For each annual revision, the new data and updated documentation were available at the time of issue on the website of the Federal Reserve Board.

IV.B. G.17 Webpage

The Federal Reserve Board's public website meets the requirements of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (amended). Section 508 requires federal agencies to provide comparable access to persons with disabilities (both employees and members of the public) to electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the agency unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Electronic and information technology is broadly defined and covers web pages.

The webpage for the G.17 displays a release schedule for the current year with a link to the current release, a link to a page showing historical release dates back to 1947, and links to historical releases. In addition, below the heading near the top of this page that says “Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization - G.17” are links to other main sections (or pages): the current release, the supplement to the G.17 with additional detail, a brief history celebrating 100 years of industrial production data, the latest annual revision release, options for downloading industrial production and related data, other data not directly related to the G.17 release, documentation, and technical questions and answers.

Monthly IP releases are available starting in December 1997. Annual revision releases are available starting in January 1997. In addition to the current format of the G.17, which was introduced in February 2001, a supplemental release, which provides more detailed industry data, for each month is available. All of these releases are available in ASCII and PDF formats. “Screen reader” versions (compliant with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, amended) are available for releases, beginning with the one issued September 14, 2001.

The Data Download page provides links to current and historical data through the Data Download Program (DDP) and on the Text Files page. The DDP allows data users to selectively download any of the statistics published in the G.17 using a variety of formats, including a comma-separated-value file (.csv), an Excel 2003 spreadsheet (.xls), or an Extensible Markup Language file (.xml) based on the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) schema. Data users can also download predetermined packages, including one that includes all new or revised data in the latest G.17.

The Text Files page provides links to text files of data, documentation on how to access the data, and information on file format and directions for loading the data into an Excel spreadsheet. Relative importance weights also are provided; an example of their use is provided in the “Aggregation Methodology and Weights” subsection of the Explanatory Note section of the release.

Seasonal factors for motor vehicle production also are available, as are past and prospective IP publication dates. Data and documentation relating to revisions to IP from initial to final (after five rounds of monthly updates and revisions) estimates are provided as well.

The About page provides links to the articles related to most annual revisions since 1995. In addition, documentation on the methods and source data used to compile the industrial production and capacity utilization statistics are found on this page.

For each monthly production and capacity series, the series source and pertinent metadata are detailed in tables listed under “Detailed source and structure information.” This material is updated with each annual revision.

The Source and Description tables are as follows: Table 1 covers the “Industry structure of industrial production: classification, value-added weights, and description of series.” For each series and NAICS industry group, the following attributes are shown: the industry name, the market and industry classifications, the value-added weights in 2016 dollars and as proportions of the total index, the type of data (physical product or production-worker hours), and the units of measure, source for the series, and the beginning date. Table 2, “Market structure of industrial production: classification, weights, and descriptions of series” shows the individual production series arranged by major market group. It includes 2016 value added in dollars and proportions for all series, as well as gross value weights in 2016 dollars for product series. Table 3, “Industry structure of capacity and capacity utilization: classification, value-added proportions, and description of series” shows sources used to compile each individual capacity index. Stage-of-processing classifications and starting dates for each capacity and utilization series are shown as well.

The explanatory note published as part of the release is also provided on the G.17 About page in the “Summary of Methods” section. Moreover, its section on capacity and capacity utilization contains an expanded description of the methods used to construct the capacity indexes. Documentation regarding capital stock estimates, used in constructing the capacity figures, is available as well.

The Technical Q&As page provides in-depth information on technical aspects of the estimation procedures for IP and capacity. Since the last report to OMB, the following topics have been addressed:

  • Estimates of the effects on IP from Hurricane Harvey (9/15/2017)

  • Further information on the effects on IP of Hurricane Harvey plus information on the effects of Hurricane Irma (10/20/2017)

  • Further information on the effects on IP of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma plus information on the effects of Hurricane Nate (11/16/2017)

  • The effect of new automotive plants on the Federal Reserve’s capacity index (5/3/2018)

  • A summary of procedures for estimating capacity for motor vehicles (5/3/2018)

  • Information on updated price indexes for communications equipment (6/1/2018)

  • Procedures for the calculation of seasonal factors for light vehicle sales (7/31/2018)

  • The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the procedures used in making the initial estimates of IP for March 2020 (4/15/2020)

  • The effect on IP from production of ventilators and personal protective equipment by unrelated industries that do not typically produce these goods (5/15/2020)

  • Updated estimation procedures for the estimation of IP for March 2020 (5/15/2020)

  • The effect on the growth rates of aggregate IP indexes from sharp changes in their components (6/16/2020)

IV.C. Publication Statistics

Most of the inquiries about industrial production and capacity utilization data are electronic. During 2019, the main G.17 webpage has averaged about 9,600 “page views” per month. The page views count represents only a fraction of overall data users, as G.17 data are often accessed from other sources, including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) website and a variety of private-sector data providers.

In addition, data for selected IP series (typically unpublished series) are sent via email to about 25 users each month. The G.17 website also makes data available for the United Nations (UN) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The data for the UN include not seasonally adjusted and seasonally adjusted IP indexes on an International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) basis. The data for the IMF include not seasonally adjusted and seasonally adjusted data for Total IP and Manufacturing IP as part of their Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus (SDDS+) program. The data files for the UN and the IMF are available on the Data Download page in the International Data Submissions section.

With the widespread availability of the G.17 release and its data in electronic form, there is no longer any demand from the public to receive releases by mail.

IV.D. Release Schedule

The industrial production index is released in mid-month, typically at 9:15 a.m. A schedule is included in the explanatory note in the G.17 and on the Release Dates page.

Advance notices of the revision issued on March 23, 2018, appeared in the G.17 release published mid-month from December 2017 through March 2018, with the exact publication date being first announced in February 2018. Notices of the March 27, 2019, annual revision were in the G.17 releases published in October 2018 through March 2019, with the precise date being announced in February 2019. An advance notice of the upcoming 2020 annual revision was first announced in the G.17 release published in January 2020, and the notice has been repeated in all subsequent releases; an exact publication date for the 2020 annual revision has not yet been determined.

IV.E. Inquiries about IP or Capacity Utilization

The Industrial Output Section receives outside requests for information about the index of industrial production or the rate of capacity utilization. Most requests come by email or phone. These requests are generally for data, for methodological descriptions, for interpretation of the data, or for information regarding other related statistics.

The requests for data frequently involve data availability and access. In a typical month, a few emails and outside phone calls are received on or near the day of release. Outside inquiries are often received between release dates from users wanting to know more about the structure and detail of the index; many of these requests are satisfied by directing users to information available on the G.17 website. Owing to the widespread availability of the data in public and private databases, these users typically have not seen the explanatory notes to the G.17 or the methodologies in previously published detailed material, such as Industrial Production—1986 Edition, with a Description of the Methodology or various relevant Federal Reserve Bulletin articles. For most questions, Industrial Output Section staff email a response within a day. If a question is likely to be of broad interest, or if answering it requires use of information not yet made public, then the answer may be posted using the Technical Q&A section of the website.

Table of Contents | Section I | Section II | Section III | Section IV | Section V | Section VI

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Last Update: June 25, 2020