Friday, January 16, 2009

Industrial Production Is Cratering

From the Fed:

Industrial production fell 2.0 percent in December, and declines were again widespread. Output was revised up in October, but it was revised down in November; for the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production decreased 11.5 percent at an annual rate. At 103.6 percent of its 2002 average, output in December was 7.8 percent below its year-earlier level. In December, manufacturing production dropped 2.3 percent. The output of mines moved down 1.6 percent, and the output of electric and gas utilities was little changed. Capacity utilization for total industry fell to 73.6 percent in December, a level 7.4 percentage points below its average level from 1972 to 2007.

Those are some huge losses in the year over year numbers. Let's see what the charts say:

That chart is what economists call cliff diving, meaning the number is just falling head over heels into lower territory.

This is also a very important number from a future GDP perspective. Remember that total private domestic investment is a component of GDP growth. This chart tells us that part of net private investment will not be moving higher anytime soon.