Industrial production in the U.S. decreased 0.2 percent in September after having increased 0.2 percent in August. The indices both for manufacturing and for manufacturing “excluding motor vehicles and parts” also moved down 0.2 percent. Production for only two major components of durables advanced: The indices for motor vehicles and parts and for miscellaneous manufacturing each rose 0.5 percent.
Conversely, production at mines moved up 0.7 percent and for the third quarter as a whole, total industrial production rose at an annual rate of 4.8 percent after having advanced about 7 percent in both the first and second quarters of this year. Lastly, factory output gained 3.6 percent in the third quarter after having jumped at an annual rate of 9.1 percent in the second quarter.
The output of consumer goods declined 0.4 percent in September, with the index for consumer durables decreasing 0.9 percent. Within durables, the output of automotive products fell 1 percent, the index for appliances, furniture, and carpeting dropped 1.9 percent after a similarly sized decline in August, and the production of miscellaneous goods declined for a second consecutive month. In the category of home electronics, output rose 0.6 percent.
The production of nondurable consumer goods moved down 0.2 percent; a fall of 1.9 percent in the energy category, which primarily resulted from a decrease in the index for residential utilities. Within non-energy nondurables, the indices for foods and tobacco and for clothing moved up, while those for chemical products and for paper products moved downward. The output of consumer goods increased faster in the third quarter than in the second quarter—a pickup that reflected unusually strong summer sales by utilities and a jump in the output of consumer automotive products.
The output of business equipment edged up 0.1 percent last month, a figure just over 10 percent above its year-earlier level. The index for transit equipment advanced 1.8 percent and offset a decline in the production of information processing equipment. For the third quarter, the output of business equipment rose at an annual rate of 9.8 percent. This increase was slower than in the second quarter due to substantial decelerations in the indices for information processing equipment and for industrial and other equipment. In contrast, the output of transit equipment jumped at an annual rate of 33.4 percent in the third quarter after having fallen the previous two quarters.
The index for defense and space equipment declined 0.2 percent in September after a 0.5 percent decrease in August.
The capacity utilization rate for total industry edged down to 74.7 percent, a rate 4.2 percentage points above the rate from a year earlier but 5.9 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009. The factory operating rate edged down to 72.2 percent, a rate 7.0 percentage points below its 1972 to 2009 average.
The complete U.S. industrial report for September is available from the Federal Reserve.