Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization - G.17
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Total industrial production fell 5.4 percent in March, as the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic led many factories to suspend operations late in the month. Manufacturing output fell 6.3 percent; most major industries posted decreases, with the largest decline registered by motor vehicles and parts. The decreases for total industrial production and for manufacturing were their largest since January 1946 and February 1946, respectively. The indexes for utilities and mining declined 3.9 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively. At 103.7 percent of its 2012 average, the level of total industrial production in March was 5.5 percent lower than a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector decreased 4.3 percentage points to 72.7 percent in March, a rate that is 7.1 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2019) average.
The estimates in this release incorporated data on stay-at-home orders as well as other information on industrial activity for late in the month. An explanation of the methods used to construct the estimates is available on the Federal Reserve Board's website at www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/g17_technical_qa.htm#covid2020.
Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization: Summary
|Industrial production||2012=100||Percent change|
|2019||2020||2019||2020|| Mar. '19 to
|Major market groups|
|Major industry groups|
|Manufacturing (see note below)||103.9||104.9||105.1||104.9||104.9||98.3||-.6||.9||.2||-.1||-.1||-6.3||-6.6|
|Capacity utilization||Percent of capacity|| Capacity
|2019||2020|| Mar. '19 to
|Manufacturing (see note below)||78.2||85.5||77.3||84.6||63.7||76.2||74.6||75.2||75.2||75.1||75.0||70.3||1.3|
|Primary and semifinished||80.3||86.4||78.1||87.8||63.9||76.7||75.1||75.8||74.8||74.4||75.1||70.2||1.5|
All major market groups recorded decreases in production in March. The index for consumer goods fell 5.9 percent, with a drop of 18.9 percent for consumer durables, a decline of 5.3 percent for consumer energy products, and a decrease of 0.9 percent for consumer non-energy nondurables. The weakness in consumer durables was led by a drop of 27.2 percent in automotive products, while the decline for consumer energy products reflected decreases in both fuels and utilities. The production of business equipment decreased 8.6 percent, held down by a drop of 22.8 percent in transit equipment that reflected cutbacks in the output of both motor vehicles and civilian aircraft. The indexes for construction supplies and business supplies declined 5.8 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. The output of materials fell 4.3 percent, with a drop of about 8 percent for durables and decreases of less than 3 percent for nondurables and energy.
Manufacturing output dropped 6.3 percent in March and at an annual rate of 7.1 percent in the first quarter. In March, the index for durable manufacturing fell 9.1 percent; the most sizable decline among its components was in motor vehicles and parts, where output fell 28.0 percent. Durable goods industries that recorded decreases of between 8 percent and 10 percent included fabricated metal products, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, furniture and related products, and miscellaneous manufacturing. The index for nondurables fell 3.2 percent, with substantial declines in many industries but smaller decreases of 2 percent or less in food, beverage, and tobacco products; paper; and chemicals. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell 5.4 percent.
The output of utilities declined 3.9 percent in March, with similarly sized decreases for both electric and natural gas utilities. Mining output fell 2.0 percent, with the largest decreases in crude oil extraction, natural gas liquids extraction, coal mining, and non-energy mining.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing in March was 70.3 percent, 4.7 percentage points lower than in February and 7.9 percentage points below its long-run average. The operating rate for durable manufacturing dropped to 67.8 percent, about 9 percentage points below its long-run average, held down by decreases in every major industry group. Capacity utilization for nondurables fell 2.5 percentage points to 73.9 percent, about 6 percentage points below its long-run average. Utilization rates for printing and support, for textile and product mills, and for apparel and leather all recorded drops of nearly 10 percentage points or more.
The Federal Reserve Board plans to issue its annual revision to the indexes of industrial production (IP) and the related measures of capacity utilization in the summer of 2020. New annual benchmark data for manufacturing for 2017 and 2018 will be incorporated, as well as other annual data, including information on the mining of metallic and nonmetallic minerals (except fuels). The weights for market-group splits of the industry-level indexes will be updated with information from the 2012 benchmark input-output accounts from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The updated IP indexes will include revisions to the monthly indicator (either product data or input data) and to seasonal factors for each industry. In addition, the estimation methods for some series may be changed. Any modifications to the methods for estimating the output of an industry will affect the index from 1972 to the present.
Capacity and capacity utilization will be revised to incorporate data for manufacturing through the fourth quarter of 2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Survey of Plant Capacity Utilization, along with new data on capacity from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other organizations.
Note.U.S. industrial sector, which is defined by the Federal Reserve to comprise manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities. Mining is defined as all industries in sector 21 of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS); electric and gas utilities are those in NAICS sectors 2211 and 2212. Manufacturing comprises NAICS manufacturing industries (sector 31-33) plus the logging industry and the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishing industries. Logging and publishing are classified elsewhere in NAICS (under agriculture and information respectively), but historically they were considered to be manufacturing and were included in the industrial sector under the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. In December 2002 the Federal Reserve reclassified all its industrial output data from the SIC system to NAICS.
G.17 Release Tables:
- Summary: Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization
- Chart 1: Industrial Production, Capacity, and Capacity Utilization
- Chart 2: Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization
- Chart 3: Industrial Production of Selected Industries
- Table 1: Industrial Production: Market and Industry Groups (percent change)
- Table 2: Industrial Production: Special Aggregates and Selected Detail (percent change)
- Table 3: Motor Vehicle Assemblies
- Table 4: Industrial Production Indexes: Market and Industry Group Summary
- Table 5: Industrial Production Indexes: Special Aggregates
- Table 6: Diffusion Indexes of Industrial Production
- Table 7: Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing, Mining, and Utilities
- Table 8: Industrial Capacity: Manufacturing, Mining, and Utilities (percent change)
- Table 9: Industrial Production: Gross Value of Products and Nonindustrial Supplies
- Table 10: Gross-Value-Weighted Industrial Production: Stage-of-Process Groups
- Table 11: Historical Statistics for IP, Capacity, and Utilization: Total Industry
- Table 12: Historical Statistics for IP, Capacity, and Utilization: Manufacturing
- Table 13: Historical Statistics for IP, Capacity, and Utilization: Total Industry excluding Selected High-Technology Industries
- Table 14: Historical Statistics for IP, Capacity, and Utilization: Manufacturing excluding Selected High-Technology Industries
- Table 15: Industrial Production: Reliability Estimates