Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Industrial Production Increases Slightly

From the Federal Reserve:

Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in February following a gain of 0.9 percent in January. Production was likely held down somewhat by winter storms in the Northeast. Manufacturing decreased 0.2 percent in February, with mixed results among its major industries. The output of mines rose 2.0 percent, while the index for utilities rose 0.5 percent. At 101.0 percent of its 2002 average, industrial output in February was 1.7 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for total industry moved up 0.2 percentage point to 72.7 percent, a rate 7.9 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009.

Let's take a look at the charts (as always, click for a larger image):

Notice that both industrial production and capacity utilization have increased for five months in a row.

Industrial production has bounced off its mid-2009 low as has

Capacity utilization.

What is most encouraging about this number is how it moved higher last month despite the weather.