Release Date: May 14, 2004
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INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND CAPACITY UTILIZATION
r Revised. p Preliminary.
The statistics in this release cover output, capacity, and capacity utilization in the
industrial sector, which the Federal Reserve defines as manufacturing, mining, and electric and
gas utilities. Manufacturing comprises those industries included in the North American Industry
Classification System, or NAICS, manufacturing plus the logging and newspaper, periodical,
book and directory publishing industries that have traditionally been considered manufacturing and included
in the industrial sector.
The output of consumer goods moved up 0.6 percent in April; both nondurable and durable goods posted increases. The production of automotive products ticked down 0.1 percent after having fallen sharply in March. Among other consumer durables, overall output was boosted by gains in the production of appliances, furniture, and carpeting and of miscellaneous goods. The index for nondurable consumer goods rose 0.6 percent, as both the energy and non-energy categories increased noticeably. Among the non-energy categories, all of which moved up, clothing production posted the largest gain.
The index for business equipment increased 0.5 percent in April despite a 0.3 percent decline in the production of transit equipment. The production of information processing equipment edged up 0.2 percent for a second month. The index for industrial and other equipment jumped 0.8 percent; output in this category was up 8.4 percent relative to its year-ago level. The production of defense and space equipment edged down after having posted gains in the previous two months.
The output of construction supplies rose 1.1 percent in April. The index for this category was 5.0 percent higher than it was a year earlier and was at its highest level since June 2001. The output of business supplies increased 0.9 percent and was 4.1 percent above its level of a year earlier.
The production of materials jumped 1.0 percent in April; large gains were posted in both the energy and non-energy categories. Among the durable non-energy industries, the indexes for equipment parts and for other durable materials both moved up 1.4 percent. The index for equipment parts was 18.5 percent above its level of a year earlier. Within the nondurable non-energy category, the output of both paper and chemicals increased, while the production of textiles declined.
Manufacturing output increased 0.7 percent in April after having edged up 0.1 percent in March. The gains in April were widespread. The overall factory operating rate moved up nearly 0.5 percentage point, to 75.7 percent, its highest rate in three years. A rise of 0.8 percent in the production of durable goods was led by gains in the output of fabricated metal products and of computer and electronic products. Output increased in all other major durable manufacturing categories except aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment. Among the high-technology industries, both the computer and semiconductor industries posted noticeable gains in output, while the production of communications equipment declined for a third consecutive month. The index for nondurable goods registered another moderate gain; increases in the output of chemicals; plastics and rubber products; and food, beverage, and tobacco products accounted for most of the overall rise.
Output at mines increased again in April, and the utilization rate for mining rose to 85.6 percent, 0.7 percentage point above the average rate in the first quarter. Output at utilities moved up 1.5 percent after having dropped sharply in March; the index for this category was up 6.2 percent from its year-ago level.
By stage-of-process category, capacity utilization for industries in the crude stage rose 0.8 percentage point, to 84.7 percent. For industries in the primary and semifinished stages, the operating rate increased 0.7 percentage point, to 79.2 percent, whereas capacity utilization for the finished stage edged up 0.2 percentage point, to 73.0 percent.
In this release, 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, has been advanced to 2000 to conform with the comparison base year of the national income and product accounts. This release also includes updated estimates of industry capacity in 2004. The estimated rates of change in total industrial and manufacturing capacity in 2004 were little changed.
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