U.S. Industrial Production Rises Slightly in March

Mild uptick in production is due primarily to an increase in the output of automotive components.

A newly released report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. industrial production rose just 0.4 percent in March. U.S. industrial production had increased 1.1 percent in February.

Following are some highlights from the report:

Market Groups

  • The production of consumer goods advanced 1.1 percent in March. Tthe production of durable consumer goods rose 0.8 percent, primarily as a result of a large increase in the output of automotive products. The index for home electronics also rose. However, the indices for appliances, furniture, and carpeting and for miscellaneous goods declined. The production of nondurable consumer goods advanced 1.2 percent in March because of strength in consumer energy products.
  • The production of business equipment edged up 0.1 percent in March after rising 1.9 percent in February. During the month, a large gain in the output of transit equipment and a small rise in the output of industrial and other equipment were mostly offset by a reduction in the output of information processing equipment. Meanwhile, the index for defense and space equipment decreased 0.2 percent in March (unchanged from February).
  • Among nonindustrial supplies, the production of construction supplies fell back 1.3 percent in March following four months of solid gains. The output of materials to be processed further in the industrial sector rose 0.2 percent in March because of an increase of 1.3 percent in the output of energy materials. Meanwhile, the output of nondurable materials edged down 0.1 percent in March, as declines in paper and chemical materials outweighed strength in textile materials and other nondurable materials.

Industry Groups

  • Factory output edged down 0.1 percent in March but increased at an annual rate of 5.3 percent in the first quarter. Within manufacturing, the output of durable goods declined 0.2 percent in March after rising 1.6 percent in February. Among durables, small to moderate losses were widespread in March, and decreases of more than 1 percent were observed in the indices for primary metals and for electrical equipment, appliances, and components. These losses were mostly offset, however, by a large gain in the output of motor vehicles and parts and a smaller gain in the output of machinery. Capacity utilization for durable manufacturing decreased 0.3 percentage point to 76.4 percent.
  • The production of nondurable goods was unchanged in March after having edged up in both January and February. In March, increases in the indexes for textile and product mills, for printing and support, and for chemicals were offset by decreases for the other categories of nondurable goods, with the largest losses recorded by paper and by apparel and leather products.

The complete U.S. industrial report for March—which includes historical data—is available online.

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Automotive  •  Industry Trends & Happenings


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