A newly released report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. industrial production increased 0.4% in December—up from slight decrease in November.
Following are some highlights from the report:
The production of consumer goods gained 0.2 percent in December and moved up at an annual rate of 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter. The output of consumer durable goods rose 0.3 percent in December, with increases in the indices for automotive products, home electronics, and miscellaneous consumer durables partially offset by a decline in the index for appliances, furniture, and carpeting.
Meanwhile, the output of nondurable consumer goods rose 0.2 percent, but the index declined at an annual rate of 0.7 percent for the fourth quarter. In December, the production of non-energy nondurables advanced 0.7 percent, with gains in all of its component indices other than clothing, while the output of consumer energy products decreased 1.0 percent.
The output of business equipment rose 0.8 percent in December. Increases of more than 1 percent were recorded by the indices for information processing equipment and for industrial and “other” equipment. However, the index for transit equipment decreased 1 percent. In the fourth quarter, the production of business equipment rose at an annual rate of 10 percent, in part because of a jump of 23.3 percent in the production of transit equipment. The gain in business equipment this past quarter was similar to the average pace of increase over the past two years.
The production of defense and space equipment fell 1.3 percent in December but advanced at an annual rate of 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Among non-industrial supplies, the production index for construction supplies increased 1 percent in December. The output of construction supplies rose at an annual rate of 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, its eighth consecutive quarterly gain. Nevertheless, the index remained more than 20 percent below its level preceding the recent recession. The production of business supplies increased 0.3 percent in December but fell at an annual rate of 1.9 percent for the quarter as a whole.
Manufacturing production climbed 0.9 percent in December to a level 3.7 percent above that of 12 months earlier; gains in December were widespread among the major industry groups. The factory operating rate moved up 0.6 percentage point to 75.9 percent, but it was still 3.1 percentage points below its long-run average of 79.0 percent. For the fourth quarter, manufacturing production increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent.
The output of durable goods rose 0.9 percent in December. The indexes for wood products, primary metals, and machinery registered gains of more than 2 percent; the only major industries that recorded substantial decreases were non-metallic mineral products, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, and furniture. For the fourth quarter, the output of durables moved up at an annual rate of 6.3 percent, with gains of nearly 10 percent or more achieved in wood products; primary metals; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; motor vehicles and parts; and aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment.
The production of non-durable goods advanced 0.8 percent in December. The indices for textile and product mills, for petroleum and coal products, for chemicals, and for plastics and rubber products all gained 1 percent or more, while the indexes both for paper and for apparel and leather fell. The output of nondurables increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The index for other manufacturing (non-NAICS), which consists of publishing and logging, jumped 2.3 percent in December after having dropped 1.9 percent in November.
The complete December U.S. industrial production report is available online.