Industrial production increased 1.1 percent in April, according to a relese from the Federal Reserve. In addition, revised numbers show output fell 0.6 percent in March but moved up 0.4 percent in February; previously, industrial production was estimated to have been unchanged in both months.
Some highlights of the April U.S. industrial production report:
The production of consumer goods increased 0.8 percent in April. The index for durable consumer goods rose 1.9 percent, led by a gain of 2.4 percent in automotive products. All other major categories of consumer durables posted gains of more than 1 percent. Meanwhile, the production of nondurable consumer goods moved up 0.5 percent as a result of an increase of 2.5 percent in the index for consumer energy products. The output of non-energy nondurable consumer goods edged down 0.1 percent as a small gain in chemical products was more than offset by a decrease in foods and tobacco.
The production of business equipment moved up 1.5 percent in April after having risen 0.2 percent in March. The more rapid gain in April reflected improvement for all of the major business equipment categories, particularly transit equipment, which posted an increase of more than 3 percent for the third month this year.
The index for defense and space equipment rose 0.3 percent in April and was up 5.0 percent over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the production of construction supplies was unchanged in April after falling 1.6 percent in March.
The output of materials to be further processed in the industrial sector rose 1.3 percent in April. The index for durable materials increased 1.0 percent after having decreased 0.5 percent in March. Much of the increase in durable materials in April came from consumer parts, which advanced 2.7 percent and was boosted by an increase in the output of motor vehicle parts for use in newly assembled vehicles. The production of equipment parts moved up 1.3 percent, and the index for other durable materials rose 0.3 percent. The production of nondurable materials increased 0.3 percent, as all of its subcategories posted gains. The output index for energy materials jumped 2.2 percent after four straight months of declines.
Manufacturing output increased 0.6 percent in April after having decreased 0.5 percent in March. Within manufacturing, the output of durable goods increased 1.3 percent in April after having moved down 0.3 percent in March. With the exception of wood products, all major categories of durable goods rose. The largest gains were recorded by motor vehicles and parts, computers and electronic products, aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment, furniture and related products, and miscellaneous manufacturing.
The production of nondurable goods decreased 0.2 percent in April after having fallen 0.8 percent in March. Among the major components of nondurables, the most notable decrease in April was for petroleum and coal products, which dropped 2.6 percent. The largest gains were posted by the indexes for textile and product mills, for apparel and leather, for paper, and for printing and support.
Capacity utilization for manufacturing in April moved up 0.3 percentage point to 77.9 percent, a rate 14.1 percentage points above its trough in June 2009 but still 0.9 percentage point below its long-run average. Capacity utilization rates in April at industries grouped by stage of process were as follows: At the crude stage, utilization increased 1 percentage point to 87.2 percent, a rate 0.9 percentage point above its long-run average; at the primary and semi-finished stages, utilization increased 0.9 percentage point to 76.5 percent, a rate 4.6 percentage points below its long-run average; and at the finished stage, utilization increased 0.6 percentage point, to 78.8 percent, a rate 1.6 percentage points above its long-run average.
The complete April industrial U.S. production report, including historical graphs, is available online.