Industrial production increased 0.8 percent in April after having risen 0.2 percent in March. The rates of change for both January and March were revised up, but the rate of change for February was revised down; nevertheless, the cumulative change over those months was only slightly lower than previously reported. Manufacturing output climbed 1.0 percent in April for a second consecutive month and was 6.0 percent above its year-earlier level. The increases in manufacturing continued to be broadly based across industries. Outside of manufacturing, the output of mines rose 1.4 percent, and the output of utilities decreased 1.3 percent. At 102.3 percent of its 2002 average, total industrial output in April was 5.2 percent above its year-earlier level. The capacity utilization rate for total industry advanced 0.6 percentage point to 73.7 percent, a rate 6.9 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009, but 4.5 percentage points above the rate from a year earlier.
Once again, we have a strong report from the manufacturing sector.
First, let's go to the data:
Both industrial production and capacity utilization continue to improve from their mid-2009 lows.
And the improvements were (again) broad-based:
The output of most major market groups rose in April. The production of consumer goods increased 0.2 percent, the result of higher output of consumer nondurables. The output of consumer durables was unchanged; declines in automotive products and in home electronics offset advances in appliances, furniture, and carpeting and in miscellaneous goods. The production of consumer nondurable goods moved up 0.3 percent, with the output of non-energy nondurables rising 0.3 percent and the output of consumer energy products gaining 0.5 percent. All major categories of consumer non-energy nondurables recorded increases, although most of the gains were small; the exception was paper products, which moved up 1.0 percent. For consumer nondurable energy products, higher fuel production was partly offset by a decrease in residential sales by utilities, which moved down for a third consecutive month.
The production index for durable goods advanced 1.1 percent in April; all major categories of durables strengthened with the exception of motor vehicles and parts and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment. Gains of 2.0 percent or more were recorded for nonmetallic mineral products; primary metals; machinery; and electrical equipment, appliances, and components.
Nondurable manufacturing climbed 1.0 percent in April. The output of petroleum and coal products jumped 3.6 percent, the index for plastics and rubber products expanded 2.7 percent, and the production of paper climbed 2.4 percent. The indexes for textile and product mills, for printing and support, and for chemicals also increased, while the indexes for food, beverage, and tobacco products and for apparel and leather were little changed.