Industrial Production Tumbles Again

Industrial production fell 1.4% in February after declining 1.9% in January. Capacity utilization was down to 70.9, an historical low. It was at 71.9 in January.

The numbers aren’t good but again we see in this series as in others a decline in the second derivative or rate of change. Additionally, utility output declined in February due to warmer temperatures.

Here are some comments from economists on the numbers.

Production declines across manufacturing industries continue to be wide-spread; however auto-related manufacturing did bounce back in February following significant declines in December and January. Motor vehicles and parts production increased by 10.2% in February, following a 24.7% decline in January. … Aerospace registered a small increase in production in February, as did food, petroleum and chemicals. All other major manufacturing groups slid through the month. — PNC Economics Division

Although industrial production was once again very weak in February, there is some suggestion within this report that weather patterns may have exaggerated the output decline in February. Production of utilities plunged 7.7% as the average national temperature rose 5.7 degrees in February (the largest Jan-Feb pickup since 2000). – BNP Paribas

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