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Industrial production and capacity utilization for November 1996.

Industrial production increased 0.9 percent in November after a revised decline of 0.2 percent in October. A rebound in the production of motor vehicles at strike-affected General Motors plants and in the production of related parts and materials accounted for about half of the gain. In addition, a 2.5 percent surge in utility output, in response to unusually cold weather, contributed 0.2 percentage point to overall IP growth. At 128.0 percent of its 1987 average, total industrial production in November was 4.4 percent higher than it was in November 1995. The utilization of industrial capacity increased 0.4 percentage point, to 83.3 percent, matching the most recent pre-strike level, attained in September.

When analyzed by market group, the data show that the aggregate output of consumer goods jumped 1.3 percent. Although the rebound in motor vehicles accounted for about two-fifths of this gain, the remaining increase resulted from an increase of 1.0 percent in the production of nondurable consumer goods. Growth in the amount of gas and electricity used for residential heat contributed a substantial portion of this increase, and the output of other nondurables rose 0.6 percent. Led by continuing weakness in the appliance segment, the production of consumer durables other than automotive products fell another 0.6 percentage point. This decrease marked the fifth consecutive monthly decline for this market group, and the index for other consumer durables is now 2.6 percent below its year-ago level.

The overall output of business equipment, which had posted sizable monthly gains since May, rose sharply, increasing 1.3 percent. Gains were particularly strong in the output of transit equipment, in which a bounceback in the production of motor vehicles was augmented by another substantial increase in the production of commercial aircraft and equipment. The output of information processing equipment, which had grown more than 1.0 percent per month during the previous three months, advanced at a more moderate rate of 0.7 percent in November. The output of industrial equipment edged up 0.2 percent, and the index for this segment now stands at about the same level as it did a year earlier. However, the output of other equipment, which had been weak most of the year, increased 1.1 percent after a revised gain of 1.9 percent in October; advances in farm and office equipment led the increases in both months.

After having fallen 1.1 percent in October, the index of construction supplies increased 0.4 percent; the index of business supplies edged up 0.1 percent after a revised gain of 1.1 percent in October. The aggregate output of industrial materials increased 0.8 percent. Within this aggregate, the production of durable goods materials advanced 1.0 percent, largely because of rebounds in the production of parts and materials used primarily by the motor vehicle industry. The output of nondurable materials slipped 0.1 percent; sizable increases in the output of paper materials and of containers were offset by comparable decreases in the production of chemical materials. The production of energy materials jumped 1.0 percent, led by a sharp gain in electricity generation.

When analyzed by industry group, the data show that factory output increased 0.8 percent after a revised 0.2 percent loss in October; the production of durable goods increased 1.2 percent, while that of nondurable goods rose 0.3 percent. The output of durable goods was buoyed not only by the resurgence of production in motor vehicles and parts but also by increases of 0.5 percent or more in the production of lumber, furniture and fixtures, fabricated metal products, computer and office equipment, electrical machinery, and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation. The only decrease in durable goods production was in primary metals, where the output of iron and steel dropped 2.6 percent.

Among nondurables, the indexes for food, tobacco, textile mill products, and paper all posted gains of 0.5 percent or more; the production of leather and of chemical products also advanced. On the negative side, the output of apparel products and of petroleum products dropped more than 1.5 percent; the production of rubber and plastics also declined.

The factory operating rate increased 0.3 percentage point, to 82.2 percent. The rate for advanced-processing industries, which include motor vehicles and parts, rose 0.6 percentage point, to 80.6 percent, after having fallen a similar amount in October; the rate for primary-processing industries declined 0.2 percentage point, to 86.2 percent. After having fallen 5.5 percentage points in October, the operating rate in motor vehicles and parts increased 4.4 percentage points, to 78.8 percent. The operating rate at mines remained unchanged, at 91.3 percent, while the rate at utilities increased 2.1 percentage points, to 92.7 percent.

This release and the history for all published series are available on the Internet at, the Board of Governors World Wide Web site.


The Federal Reserve will publish revisions of its measures of industrial production (IP), capacity, capacity utilization, and industrial use of electric power on January 7, 1997. The revisions of IP, capacity, and capacity utilization will incorporate updated source data for recent years and will feature a change in the method of aggregating the indexes. From 1977 onward, the value-added proportions used to weight individual series will be updated annually rather than quinquennially. In addition, the IP indexes and the capacity measures will be rebased so that 1992 actual output equals 100. Capacity utilization, the ratio of IP to capacity, will be recomputed on the basis of revised IP and capacity measures.

The aggregate IP indexes will be constructed with a superlative index formula similar to that introduced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis as the featured measure of real output in its January 1996 comprehensive revision of the National Income and Product Accounts. At present, the aggregate IP indexes are computed as linked Laspeyres indexes, with the weights updated every five years. Because of the rapid fall in the relative price of computers and peripheral equipment, that periodic updating of weights is too infrequent to provide reliable estimates of current changes in output, capacity, and capacity utilization. With the publication of the revision, value-added proportions will be updated annually, and the new index number formula will be applied to all aggregates of IP, capacity, and gross value of product. For the most part, relative price movements among the 260 individual components of the IP index are likely to have little visible effect on total IP. However, the more frequent updating of the relative price of the output of the computer industry could lower overall IP growth in some years by as much as 1/2 percentage point; in other years, the updating of weights will have virtually no effect. Because the new index number formula will slow capacity growth as well as IP growth, the effect of the reaggregation on overall capacity utilization should be small.

The regular updating of source data for IP will include the introduction of annual data from the 1994 Annual Survey of Manufactures and selected 1995 Current Industrial Reports of the Bureau of the Census. Available annual data on mining for 1994 and 1995 from the Department of the Interior will also be introduced. Revisions to the monthly indicators for each industry (physical product data, production-worker hours, or electric power usage) and revised seasonal factors will be incorporated back to 1992. In addition, the benchmark index for semiconductor output will be revised back to 1977 to reflect a hedonic price index similar in concept to what is used for the computer industry.

The statistics on the industrial use of electric power will be revised back to 1972. These revisions stem from three basic sources. First, the new figures incorporate more complete reports received from utilities for the past few years. Second, an updated panel of reporters on cogeneration will be fully integrated into our survey of electric power use. Third, the levels of the monthly electric power series for manufacturing industries will be benchmarked to indexes derived from data published in the Census Bureau's annual surveys and censuses of manufactures. These indexes will also be revised so that 1992 electric power usage equals 100.

More detail on the plans for this revision is available on the Internet at Once the revision is published, the revised data will be available at that site and on diskettes from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Publications Services, 202-452-3245. The revised data will also be available through the Economic Bulletin Board of the Department of Commerce. For information about the Bulletin Board, call 202-482-1986. In addition to the data currently provided, the time series of implicit prices necessary for a user to aggregate IP and capacity under the new methodology will be provided. For information on these revisions, call the Industrial Output Section, 202-452-3151.
COPYRIGHT 1997 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 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Federal Reserve Bulletin
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Previous Article:Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances.
Next Article:Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee Meeting held on September 24, 1996.

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