The U.S. Federal Reserve recently released the industrial production report for the month of May. Following is a summary:
The production of consumer goods edged down 0.1 percent in May after having declined 0.7 percent in April. The production of durable consumer goods moved up 0.2 percent in May, and the output of nondurables slid 0.1 percent.
Among consumer durables, the indexes for automotive products, home electronics, appliances, furniture, and carpeting moved up, while the index for miscellaneous goods decreased. The production of non-energy nondurables edged down 0.1 percent.
The output of business equipment edged up 0.2 percent in May, after declining 0.3 percent in April. Meanwhile, the index for transit equipment increased 0.5 percent in May, primarily as a result of an increase in the production of medium and heavy trucks. The index for information processing equipment rose 1.2 percent, with the gain concentrated in the output of electrical instruments. Lastly, the output of defense and space equipment decreased 0.7 percent in May.
The production of materials to be processed further in the industrial sector advanced 0.2 percent in May and was 2.1 percent above its level of a year earlier. All major components of materials posted gains in May. The output of durable materials edged up 0.1 percent, as increases in the indexes for consumer parts and equipment parts were nearly offset by a decline in the index for other durable materials. Following four months of losses, the production of nondurable materials increased 0.4 percent in May. Among its major subcategories, both textile materials and chemical materials recorded gains while paper materials was unchanged. The output of energy materials edged up 0.1 percent to post its fifth consecutive monthly increase.
Manufacturing output moved up 0.1 percent in May after having declined 0.3 percent in March and 0.4 percent in April. The factory operating rate held steady in May at 75.8 percent, a rate 2.9 percentage points below its long-run average.
The output of durable goods advanced 0.2 percent in May and stood 2.9 percent above its year-earlier level. Among its major components, the largest gains were posted by wood products and by computer and electronic products, each of which increased 1.1 percent; the largest losses were recorded in primary metals and in furniture and related products, each of which fell about 1 percent.
Capacity utilization for durable goods manufacturing was unchanged at 75.9 percent, a rate 1.1 percentage points below its long-run average. Capacity utilization rates in May for industries grouped by stage of process were as follows: At the crude stage, utilization increased 0.4 percentage point to 86.9 percent; at the primary and semifinished stages, utilization declined 0.4 percentage point to 75.5 percent; and at the finished stage, utilization edged down 0.1 percentage point to 75.8 percent.
The complete May 2013 U.S. industrial production report, which includes historical diagrams, is available online.