"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Industrial Production

This particular report is another one of those reports that is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  It's an overview of the monthly change in factory production rates, and then a look at what percentage of our total (theoretical) production capacity the nation is using.  The report subdivides into industries and types of products as well, but most analysts like to look at the overall figures to see what the nation is doing as a whole.
The figures for April were a little sad, with a 0.0% increase in production and a 76.9% capacity utilization rate.  But, as is their way, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are expecting things to improve, calling for a 0.2% increase in May production and an increase in capacity utilization to 77.0%.
For the actual results, we turn to - no, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  No, we turn to the Federal Reserve for this one.  Their report is showing that the analysts were a little overoptimistic.  Industrial production did rise, but only by 0.1% for the month of May, with capacity utilization slipping to 76.7%.  Business equipment production rose 1.2%, helping to prop up a lackluster "final products" market group, and construction supplies production  rose 1.4%, helping to boost the nonindustrial supplies market group.  Utilities were the biggest drag on the report, with production falling 2.8%.

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