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Industrial production and capacity utilization for August 1993.

Industrial production, which rose 0.4 percent in July, increased 0.2 percent in August. The production of business equipment and durable goods materials rose sharply. However, the production of defense and space equipment and of durable consumer goods declined further, and the output of energy materials decreased because of the continuing strike in the coal industry. At 111.1 percent of its 1987 annual average, total industrial production was 0.7 percentage point above its level in the second quarter and 4.2 percent above its year-earlier level. For a second month, utilization of total industrial capacity remained at 81.8 percent, just above its level in the spring.

When analyzed by market group, the data show that the output of consumer goods decreased 0.2 percent, reversing the gain in July. Among consumer durable goods, the output of automotive products declined about 1/2 percent and was 8 1/2 percent below its April level; the output of other durable consumer goods fell 1 percent as the production of appliances lost much of its July rise. The output of consumer nondurables was unchanged and has been flat, on balance, since late last year; the production of electricity for residential use, which surged in July, was little changed in August because of the continued above-normal demand for air conditioning.

The production of equipment rose more than 1/2 percent despite a further decline in output of defense and space equipment. Oil and gas well drilling, which has picked up recently, rose more than 8 percent. The output of business equipment advanced 0.7 percent, primarily because of the sustained uptrend in the production of information-processing equipment; the output of business equipment excluding computers rose only 0.1 percent in August and was 23/4 percent above the level of a year ago.

The output of construction supplies, which grew sharply in July, increased 0.2 percent. Over the past year, the production of construction supplies has risen about 4 percent, but it has changed little, on balance, since February. The output of industrial materials, which had been held back since May by strikes in mining, rose 0.2 percent in August.

Among the major components, the overall production of durable goods materials, which had been sluggish during the late spring and earlier summer months, rose 0.7 percent. The output of parts for equipment increased further, and the production of parts for consumer durables picked up. Also, the output of basic metals rose despite a strike in iron ore mining and a cutback in aluminum production. The production of nondurable materials, such as chemicals and paper, has changed little recently. The output of energy materials, which had been boosted in July by a spurt in electricity generation, fell back because of the further strike-related curtailments in coal mining.

When analyzed by industry group, the data show that within manufacturing, output increased 0.3 percent in August. Among durable manufacturing industries, the most notable increases occurred in machinery and steel. The gain in the output in nondurable manufacturing reflected mainly an increase in food. The utilization of manufacturing capacity, which was 80.8 percent in August, has inched up since June to a level near the upper end of the range that has prevailed for most of this year. The operating rate for advanced-processing industries edged up to 79.2 percent in August but was still 1.5 percentage points below its longer-run average; industries that remain at relatively low operating rates include transportation equipment and instruments. The rate for primary-processing industries, at 84.7 percent, also was only a bit above its July level but 2.5 percentage points above its long-term average, with most major industries operating at above average rates.

The output at mines fell 1.0 percent because of strikes in the coal and iron ore industries. The output at utilities, which had posted gains averaging nearly 3 percent in June and July, was unchanged.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Federal Reserve Bulletin
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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