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Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for March 2001.

Released for publication April 17

Industrial production increased 0.4 percent in March, its first increase since September. At 146.5 percent of its 1992 average, industrial production in March was 0.8 percent higher than in March 2000. Manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent after a 0.3 percent drop in February; excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing output edged down 0.1 percent in March. Output at utilities increased 1.1 percent, and production in mining rose 0.8 percent. For the first quarter as a whole, total industrial production contracted at an annual rate of 4.7 percent--the biggest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 1991; the index edged down at a 0.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2000. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry moved up in March to 79.4 percent but remains at a level more than 2 1/2 percentage points below its 1967-2000 average.

[Graphs omitted]
Industrial production and capacity utilization, March 2001

 Industrial production, index, 1992 = 100

 Category 2000 2001

 Dec(r) Jan.(r) Feb.(r) Mar.(p)

Total 147.3 146.4 145.9 146.5
Previous estimate 147.7 146.8 146.0 ...
Major market groups
Products, total(2) 136.0 135.5 134.9 135.4
 Consumer goods 123.1 122.1 122.0 122.3
 Business equipment 199.2 198.2 196.2 197.9
 Construction supplies 140.6 140.3 139.5 139.1
Materials 167.8 166.2 165.8 166.5

Major industry groups
Manufacturing 152.6 151.8 151.3 151.8
 Durable 195.1 192.7 191.9 193.6
 Nondurable 114.1 114.6 114.4 114.0
Mining 99.6 100.7 101.1 101.9
Utilities 129.1 124.4 121.8 123.1

 Capacity utilization, percent

 2000

 Average Low, High
 1967-00 1982 1988-89 Mar.

Total 82.1 71.1 85.4 82.2

Manufacturing 81.1 69.0 85.7 81.6
 Advanced processing 80.6 71.0 84.2 79.6
 Primary processing 82.2 65.7 88.3 85.9
Mining 87.4 80.3 88.0 86.1
Utilities 87.6 75.9 92.6 87.2

 Industrial production, index, 1992 = 100

 Percent change

 Category

 2000(1) 2001(1)

 Dec.(r) Jan.(r) Feb.(r) Mar.(p)

Total -.6 -.6 -.4 .4
Previous estimate -.3 -.6 -.6 ...
Major market groups
Products, total(2) -.2 -.3 -.4 .4
 Consumer goods .6 -.8 -.1 .3
 Business equipment -.7 -.5 -1.0 .9
 Construction supplies -.7 -.3 -.5 -.3
Materials -1.2 -1.0 -.2 .4

Major industry groups
Manufacturing -1.0 -.5 -.3 .3
 Durable -.8 -1.2 -.4 .9
 Nondurable -1.2 .4 -.1 -.4
Mining -1.5 1.1 .4 .8
Utilities 5.9 -3.6 -2.0 1.1

 Capacity utilization, percent

 2000 2001

 Dec.(r) Jan.(r) Feb.(r) Mar.(p)

Total 80.6 79.9 79.3 79.4

Manufacturing 79.3 78.6 78.2 78.1
 Advanced processing 79.0 78.9 78.4 78.5
 Primary processing 80.9 79.3 78.8 78.6
Mining 86.1 87.1 87.5 88.4
Utilities 95.7 92.0 89.8 90.5

 Industrial production, index, 1992= 100

 Percent change

 Category Mar. 2000
 to
 Mar. 2001

Total .8
Previous estimate ...
Major market groups
Products, total(2) .7
 Consumer goods .1
 Business equipment 4.8
 Construction supplies -3.8
Materials 1.1

Major industry groups
Manufacturing .4
 Durable 2.5
 Nondurable -2.3
Mining 1.5
Utilities 7.3

 MEMO
 Capacity,
 percent
 change,
 Mar. 2000
 to
 Mar. 2001

Total 4.4

Manufacturing 4.8
 Advanced processing 2.5
 Primary processing 8.4
Mining -1.1
Utilities 3.4

NOTE. Data seasonally adjusted or calculated from seasonally adjusted
monthly data.

(1.) Change from preceding month.

(2.) Contains components in addition to those shown.

(r) Revised.

(p) Preliminary.


MARKET GROUPS

The output of consumer goods rose 0.3 percent in March; an increase of 2.4 percent in the production of consumer durables more than offset a decline in the production of nondurables. The output of automotive products rose 5.7 percent; nonetheless, because of the sharp cutbacks during the fourth quarter of 2000 and earlier this year, output in March remained 6.7 percent below its year-ago level. The output of home electronics rose 2.7 percent, but the production of other consumer durables decreased. Among consumer nondurables, the production of non-energy consumer goods declined 0.4 percent; declines in the output of paper products, foods and tobacco, and clothing were only partly offset by a gain in the production of consumer chemicals. The output of consumer energy products, which had fallen in the preceding two months, rose 0.6 percent and was boosted by an increase in utilities' sales to residences.

The production of business equipment increased 0.9 percent in March after three months of declines. The output of transit equipment rebounded 4.5 percent because of gains in the production of autos, trucks, and commercial aircraft. The production of information processing and related equipment posted a relatively small increase of 0.7 percent. After having risen 23.1 percent last year, this index slowed to a 6.1 percent pace in the first quarter. The production of industrial and other equipment fell 0.3 percent in March, with declines in the output of construction equipment, electrical distribution equipment, and special industry machinery.

The production of construction supplies fell 0.3 percent further in March; for the first quarter, it dropped 5.1 percent at an annual rate, a decline close to that for the fourth quarter of last year. The output of materials was up 0.4 percent in March, the first gain since September. The output of durable goods materials rose 0.5 percent, led by an increase of 2.6 percent in the output of parts for consumer goods. Equipment parts (including the production of semi-conductors and related electronic components) increased 0.5 percent in March and rose only 0.8 percent in the first quarter; output has decelerated steadily after having peaked at a 57.0 percent annual growth rate in the second quarter of last year. The output of nondurable goods materials slipped 0.2 percent in March, with declines in the production of textiles, paper, and chemical materials. The production of energy materials was up 0.8 percent.

INDUSTRY GROUPS

Manufacturing output rose 0.3 percent in March, the first increase since September, because of gains in the production of durable goods; the production of nondurable goods slipped 0.4 percent. Among durable goods, the largest increases were in the production of motor vehicles and parts and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment. For the quarter, however, durable goods production fell at an annual rate of 7.4 percent, the largest drop since the first quarter of 1991. In March, declines in the output of nondurables were fairly widespread. The only exceptions were small increases in apparel products and chemicals.

The factory operating rate edged down, to 78.1 percent. The utilization rate for primary-processing industries decreased slightly, to 78.6 percent, while the rate for advanced-processing industries edged up, to 78.5 percent. Capacity utilization in high-technology industries (computers, communications equipment, and semiconductors) dropped for the eighth successive month, to 77.3 percent, a level 12.7 percentage points below its July 2000 peak. The operating rate at utilities rose to 90.5 percent. The operating rate for mining increased for the third consecutive month, to 88.4 percent.

NEW RELEASE FORMAT

Beginning with the February 16 issue, the G. 17 statistical release has been redesigned. Special aggregates have been added. Although some detailed industry data no longer appear in the regular release, these series continue to be available on the Federal Reserve Board's public web site (www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17).
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Publication:Federal Reserve Bulletin
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Words:1315
Previous Article:U.S. International Transactions in 2000.
Next Article:Testimony of Federal Reserve Officials.
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