Following are some highlights from the U.S. Federal Reserve's report:
The production of consumer goods moved up 1.0 percent in December but fell at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter. The output of consumer durable goods declined 0.5 percent in December. The indexes for all of its major components except home electronics moved down, with the largest decrease occurring for appliances, furniture, and carpeting. For the fourth quarter, the output of consumer durables fell 8.8 percent, in large part because of a drop of 17.6 percent in the production of automotive products. The output of nondurable consumer goods rose 1.4 percent in December, propelled by a gain in consumer energy products, which climbed 6.1 percent, as both sales to residences by utilities and the production of fuels increased. The production of non-energy nondurables was little changed, as increases in the indexes for clothing and for chemical products offset a decline in the index for paper products; the index for foods and tobacco was unchanged.
The production of business equipment increased 0.6 percent in December. Widespread gains lifted the output of business equipment at an annual rate of 10.0 percent for the fourth quarter, a third consecutive quarterly gain of 10.0 percent or more. For December, the index for transit equipment decreased 0.8 percent, but the indexes for information processing equipment and for industrial and other equipment rose 1.8 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.
The production of defense and space equipment was unchanged in December after having fallen 0.8 percent in November. In the fourth quarter, the index for defense and space equipment moved down at an annual rate of 3.2 percent following three consecutive quarterly gains.
The production index for construction supplies decreased 0.8 percent in December but rose at an annual rate of 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter. The output of business supplies increased 0.5 percent in December but was down for the quarter as a whole.
The production of materials rose 1.0 percent in December. The output of materials increased 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter, a sixth consecutive quarterly gain. In December, the production of durable materials advanced 0.9 percent, with gains of more than 1.0 percent in the indexes for equipment parts and for other durable materials; the output of consumer parts moved down 0.2 percent. The output of nondurable materials rose 0.7 percent: An increase of 1.8 percent in chemical materials more than offset declines in the output of paper and of textiles. The index for energy materials moved 1.3 percent higher, with widespread gains among its components.
Manufacturing production increased 0.4 percent in December and rose 3.3 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter. The factory operating rate moved up to 73.2 percent in December, but it was still 6.0 percentage points below its long-run (1972 to 2009) average of 79.2 percent. The output of durable goods rose 0.4 percent, with large gains recorded in primary metals and in computers and electronic products. Output decreased for most of the other major durable goods industries, though the only drop of more than 1.0 percent was for nonmetallic mineral products.
The output of durables moved up at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter; output advanced in all of its major industries except motor vehicles and parts and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment. The production of nondurable goods rose 0.5 percent in December. Gains of 1.0 percent or more for apparel and leather, for petroleum and coal products, for chemicals, and for plastics and rubber products were partly offset by decreases for textile and product mills, for paper, and for printing. For the fourth quarter, the production of nondurables advanced at an annual rate of 3.2 percent, about the same pace as for the third quarter.
The complete December U.S. industrial production report is available online