For the third quarter as a whole, U.S. industrial output advanced at an annual rate of 5.2%, the first quarterly gain since the first quarter of 2008 and the largest gain since the first quarter of 2005. Production in manufacturing increased 0.9% in September, and the index—excluding motor vehicles and parts—rose 0.5%. Meanwhile, mining output strengthened 0.7%, while the output of utilities fell 0.7%.
Among the major market groups, the production of consumer goods advanced 1.1% in September, and the index rose at an annual rate of 5.5% for the third quarter. The gain in September was led by an increase of 3.5% in durables. The output of automotive products moved up 7.4% after having posted monthly gains in July and August that averaged about 11%.
Production in the other major categories of durables was mixed in September. The index for home electronics fell 1.3%; the index for appliances, furniture, and carpeting moved up 0.4%; and the index for miscellaneous goods rose 0.3%. The production of nondurable consumer goods increased 0.5%, with gains in the output of most major categories. The index for non-energy nondurables advanced 0.3%. The production indexes for foods and tobacco, for clothing, and for chemical products moved higher, while the index for paper products fell back 1.3%. The output of consumer energy goods climbed 1.2% largely because of increases in petroleum refining.
The index for business equipment edged up 0.1% in September after having advanced about 1% per month in July and August. By comparison, for the third quarter as a whole, the index rose at an annual rate of 3.5%. Within business equipment, the production of transit equipment strengthened 2.4% in September, supported primarily by the gain in motor vehicle assemblies. The output of information processing equipment edged up 0.2%, but the output of industrial and other equipment fell 0.6%. This was largely due to decreases in several categories, including general purpose machinery, farm machinery, and office furniture, which more than offset strength in other categories such as semiconductor machinery. The index for defense and space equipment rose 1.1% and increased at an annual rate of nearly 15% in the third quarter.
The output of construction supplies decreased 0.4% in September after having advanced a similar amount in August. The index for business supplies also decreased 0.4 % in September, as both general business supplies and commercial energy products posted declines.
The production of materials increased 0.8% in September and advanced at an annual rate of 7% in the third quarter. Consumer parts production expanded 3.3%, with gains in the output of motor vehicle parts contributing significantly to the increase. The index for equipment parts rose 1.2%, while the index for other durable materials moved up 0.8%. The output of nondurable materials gained 0.7%, with the largest contribution coming from higher production of chemical materials. Energy materials edged up 0.2%; increases in petroleum refining and in oil and gas support activities more than offset lower output of electricity.
The full report is available online from the Federal Reserve.