MANUFACTURING

Industrial production levels little changed

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/STEPHEN HILGER
INDUSTRIAL production in the U.S. was little changed in March for a second month as a slowdown at factories was offset by a pickup in utility use.
Posted 4/17/12

WASHINGTON - Industrial production in the U.S. was (unexpectedly) little changed in March for a second month as a slowdown at factories was offset by a pickup in utility use.

The output last month at factories, mines and utilities compared with a median projection for a 0.3 percent increase in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, data from the Federal Reserve showed Tuesday in Washington.

Manufacturing, which makes up about 75 percent of total production, dropped 0.2 percent in March, the most since April 2011.

Weaker economies in Europe and parts of Asia may temper overseas orders at the same time companies in the U.S. reduce the rate of inventory building, limiting the pace of factory output.

Business purchases of new equipment are helping sustain gains in manufacturing, which grew in the first quarter at the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2010.

“We should see fairly tepid growth for manufacturing,” Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York, said before the report. “Motor vehicle production was fairly strong the last two months. That continues to be the main driver, but we expect that to moderate.”

A report from the Commerce Department showed housing starts fell 5.8 percent in March to a 654,000 annual rate, less than the lowest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the slowest since October.

Industrial production estimates of the 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from a decline of 0.6 percent to a gain of 0.7 percent.

Consumer Durables

The drop in manufacturing output, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, in March was the first since November. The figure was restrained by a decrease in consumer durable goods such as furniture and appliances. Construction supply production slumped 1.3 percent in March after a 1.9 percent jump.

Still, first-quarter factory output climbed at a 10.4 percent annual rate, the most in almost two years, the Fed said.

Auto production rose in March at a slower pace, climbing 0.6 percent after a 0.8 percent rise. Factory output minus production of vehicles and parts fell 0.3 percent in March.

Production of business equipment climbed 0.2 percent after a 1.3 percent jump.

Utility production climbed 1.5 percent in March after increasing 0.1 percent the previous month, today’s report showed. A 0.2 percent rise in mining, which includes drilling for oil and natural gas, also helped total industrial output.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
  • Book of Lists Party
    Save the date - January 15, 2015 for PBN's Book of Lists Party at the Providence ...
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement