Release Date: April 16, 2004
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INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND CAPACITY UTILIZATION
The output of consumer goods fell 0.4 percent in March, but for the first quarter as a whole, it rose at an annual rate of 5.3 percent. The output of consumer durables decreased 0.5 percent in March. Lower output of automotive products and of miscellaneous goods more than offset increases in home electronics and in appliances, furniture, and carpeting. The decline in automotive products reflected a drop in the assemblies of light vehicles from 12.3 million units to 11.9 million units (annual rate). The production of consumer nondurables declined 0.3 percent, as lower sales of electricity and natural gas to residences resulted in a drop of 2 percent in the index for energy products. The output of non-energy nondurable goods edged up 0.1 percent. Although the indexes for chemical products and for foods and tobacco posted gains, the output of paper products and of clothing moved lower.
The production of business equipment declined 0.2 percent in March but rose at an annual rate of 11.7 percent in the first quarter. In March, the index for transit equipment fell 1.8 percent because of reductions in the output of automobiles, trucks, and aircraft. The output of information processing equipment decreased 0.2 percent, despite an increase in computers. Gains in construction machinery and in mining and oil and gas field machinery helped to boost output in the industrial and other category.
The output of defense and space equipment increased 0.6 percent in March but was down at an annual rate of 2.8 percent for the first quarter as a whole. The index for construction supplies also rose 0.6 percent in March, but the index for business supplies fell 0.7 percent.
The production of industrial materials edged down 0.1 percent in March. Although the output of durable materials advanced 0.3 percent, the production of nondurable materials slipped 0.1 percent. The output of energy materials fell 0.8 percent.
Manufacturing output was unchanged in March; the factory operating rate edged down 0.1 percentage point, to 75.2 percent, and was 4.8 percentage points below its 1972-2003 average. Production increased at an annual rate of 5.9 percent in the first quarter.
The production of durable goods edged up 0.1 percent in March. The output of nonmetallic mineral products jumped 2 percent. Among the high-technology industries, production of computers and office equipment moved up 2.4 percent, the output of semiconductors and related electronic components rose 2.5 percent, and the production of communications equipment fell 2.0 percent. Production of furniture and related products was up 1.2 percent. The following indexes also rose in March but by smaller amounts: primary metals; machinery; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment; and miscellaneous manufacturing. However, the overall gain in the output of durables was held down by a decline of 1.1 percent in the output of wood products, a decrease of 0.3 percent in the output of fabricated metals, and a drop of 2.2 percent in the output of motor vehicles.
The output of nondurable goods edged up 0.1 percent. The output of petroleum and coal products rose 0.7 percent, and the production of chemicals moved up 0.3 percent. However, the production indexes for paper and for printing both moved lower, and the output indexes for textile and mill products and for leather and apparel were essentially flat.
Production at mines fell 0.3 percent in March; the utilization rate declined to 85.4 percent, 1.5 percentage points below its 1972-2003 average. The output at utilities fell 2.3 percent in March, and the operating rate fell 2.2 percentage points, to 84.0 percent, a rate that is 2.9 percentage points below its 1972-2003 average. By stage of processing, capacity utilization for industries in the crude stage declined 0.3 percentage point, to 84.2 percent. Utilization for industries in the primary and semifinished stage fell 0.5 percentage point, to 78.8 percent, and utilization for industries in the finished stage slipped 0.1 percentage point, to 72.4 percent.
With the May 14, 2004 release of the G.17, the comparison base year for the data in Table 9, Gross Value of Final Products and Nonindustrial Supplies, and in Table 10, Gross-Value-Weighted Industrial Production: Stage-of-Process Groups, will be advanced to 2000 to conform with the comparison base year of the national income and product accounts.
G.17 Release Tables:
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