Industrial, manufacturing production down 0.5% in April

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 270 views 

Industrial production declined 0.5% in April, according to the Federal Reserve. Output declined 1.9% in the first quarter, from the same period in 2018. Manufacturing production fell 0.5% in April after being flat in March.

The index for mining rose 1.6% in April, and the index for utilities declined 3.5%. Total industrial production rose 0.9% in April, from the same month in 2018. Capacity use for the industrial sector declined 0.6% in April to 77.9%, and the rate is 1.9 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2018) average.

Most major market groups reported declines in April. The production of consumer goods decreased by 1.2%, with declines in durables and nondurables. The index for durable consumer goods declined 0.8% because of a decrease in the output of automotive products, while the output of nondurables fell because of declines in chemical and consumer energy products. Production declined for business equipment, construction supplies and business supplies. Output rose for defense and space equipment and for materials. A decline in durables was offset by the rise in nondurable and energy materials.

Manufacturing output fell in April after declining an average of about 0.4% per month for the previous three months. Production of durable goods fell nearly 1% in April, and the index for nondurable goods narrowly declined. With regard to durables, the following fell 2% or more: machinery; electrical equipment, appliances and components; and motor vehicles and parts. Nondurable results were mixed, with the largest increases in apparel and paper and products, and the largest decreases in textile and product mills and plastics and rubber products. The other manufacturing index, which includes publishing and logging, fell 0.3% in April and was below its level in the same month in 2018.

Utilities output declined 3.5% in April, and the indexes for natural gas and electric utilities fell. Demand for heating decreased because temperatures were warmer than normal. Mining output rose in April and was 10.4% higher from the same month in 2018. The mining index increased as a result of gains in the oil and gas sector and a rise in coal mining after a few months of declines.

Capacity use for manufacturing fell 0.5 percentage points to 75.7% in April, and the rate is 2.6 percentage points below its long-run average. The use rate for durable manufacturing declined, and the rates for nondurable manufacturing and for other manufacturing were flat. Capacity use for mining rose to 91.4% and was above its long-run average of 87.1%. Use rate for utilities declined to 76.2% and was more than 9 percentage points below its long-run average.