Release Date: March 15, 2004
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INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND CAPACITY UTILIZATION
The output of consumer goods rose 0.7 percent in February. The production of consumer durables increased 1.0 percent; all the major components posted gains. The output index for automotive products rose 1.4 percent, and home electronics increased 2.9 percent. The rise in automotive products reflected an increase in the assembly of light motor vehicles from 12.0 million units to 12.3 million units (annual rate). The index for miscellaneous goods posted a 0.3 percent gain, and the index for appliances, furniture, and carpeting edged up 0.1 percent. The production of consumer nondurables advanced 0.7 percent; all of the increase was in non-energy goods. The output of foods and tobacco increased 0.5 percent, and clothing output climbed 0.8 percent. The index for chemical products rose 1.3 percent, and the output of paper products advanced 1.8 percent. Consumer energy products fell 0.2 percent in February, in part as a result of a drop in utility sales to residences.
The production of business equipment rose 1.1 percent in February. The indexes for transit equipment and for information processing equipment each advanced 0.8 percent. The gain in transit equipment reflected higher production of both light vehicles and civilian aircraft. The output of industrial and other equipment increased 1.3 percent. The output of defense and space equipment rose 0.5 percent, to a level 1.0 percent higher than that of February 2003. The indexes for construction supplies and for business supplies each rose 0.6 percent.
The production of industrial materials rose 0.7 percent in February. The output of durable materials increased 1.1 percent, and motor vehicle parts, semiconductors, and computer parts had especially strong gains. The production of nondurable materials rose 1.0 percent, but a dip in the output of utilities contributed to a 0.2 percent decline in energy materials.
Manufacturing output increased 1.0 percent in February and was 3.2 percent above its year-ago level. The factory operating rate rose 0.6 percentage point, to 75.2 percent, but was still 4.8 percentage points below its 1972-2003 average. The production of durable goods rose 1.0 percent, and the increase was spread across most of the group's subsectors. The industry with the largest gain was machinery, in which output climbed 1.7 percent. The index for computer and electronic products moved up 1.5 percent. Among the high-technology industries, computers and office equipment increased 2.1 percent, and semiconductors and related electronic components advanced 3.0 percent. The output of fabricated metal products was up 1.3 percent; motor vehicles and parts posted a 1.6 percent gain. The following indexes also rose in February but by smaller amounts: wood products; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment; and miscellaneous manufacturing. Primary metals, nonmetallic mineral products, and furniture and related products each moved lower. The production of nondurable goods increased 0.8 percent, and the gains were widespread. The production of chemical products advanced 1.3 percent, and the output of apparel and leather was up 0.8 percent. The production indexes for petroleum and coal products and for plastics and rubber products each increased 1.0 percent or more. The production of food, beverage, and tobacco products climbed 0.7 percent; paper production rose 0.9 percent. The only decrease among the nondurable subsectors was for textile and product mills, in which output fell 0.4 percent. The index for printing and support was unchanged.
Production at mines rose 0.1 percent in February, and the utilization rate edged up to 85.7 percent, a rate 1.2 percentage points below its 1972-2003 average. Output at utilities fell 0.7 percent, and utilization declined to 85.3 percent, 1.6 percentage points below the 1972-2003 average. By stage of processing, capacity utilization for industries in the crude stage increased 0.3 percentage point, to 84.6 percent. Utilization for industries in the primary and semifinished stages increased 0.4 percentage point, to 79.1 percent, and utilization for industries in the finished stage rose 0.6 percentage point, to 72.3 percent.
With the May 14, 2004, release of the G.17, the comparison base year for the data both 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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