Within the manufacturing sector, though, output gained 0.5 percent in October after having risen 0.1 percent in September. Factory production in September was initially reported to have decreased 0.2 percent, but incoming data on steel, fabricated metal products, machinery, and chemicals helped boost the index.
Some highlights from the report:
Industry groups. The factory operating rate moved up to 72.7 percent, with the output of durable goods increasing 0.9 percent reflecting growth in most major categories. After having declined the previous four months, the output of wood products jumped 2.5 percent; the indexes for nonmetallic mineral products and for electrical equipment, appliances, and components also increased by 2.0 percent or more. Within durable manufacturing, only the index for primary metals fell, at a rate of 0.4 percent.
On the down side, mining production was off 0.1 percent in October, and its utilization rate fell to 87.9 percent. The index for utilities dropped 3.4 percent; the output of electric utilities declined for a third consecutive month, while the output of natural gas utilities fell for a second month in a row. The operating rate for utilities decreased 2.8 percentage points, to 76.6 percent.
Market groups. The production of consumer durables rose 0.8 percent in October. Within durables, the indexes for automotive products and for appliances, furniture, and carpeting each increased 1.1 percent. Gains in the production of miscellaneous goods and of home electronics were smaller, at 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the production of nondurable consumer goods declined 0.2 percent; a fall of 3.2 percent for the energy category, which primarily resulted from a decrease in the index for residential utilities, more than offset an increase of 0.7 percent for the non-energy category.
In the category of business equipment, output moved up 1.1 percent in October—a full 10.4 percent above its year-earlier level. The indexes for information processing equipment and for industrial and other equipment each advanced 1.2 percent, while the index for transit equipment rose 0.7 percent after two months of small declines.
Lastly, the index for defense and space equipment increased 0.7 percent and retraced most of its losses of the previous two months. Meanwhile, the production of construction supplies moved up 0.2 percent in October after having declined 0.4 percent in September.