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At 93.4 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production in October was 5.3 percent above its year-earlier level. The capacity utilization rate for total industry was flat at 74.8 percent, a rate 6.6 percentage points above the low in June 2009 and 5.8 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2009.
"The material shortages earlier this year led to a surge in imports and diminished the ability to export," said Daniel J. Meckstroth, Ph.D., chief economic for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. "Now that material availability is less of a concern, exports are playing a more important role in industrial demand. In addition, long postponed replacement of consumer durables and business equipment has created pent up demand that is driving above average growth in factory production."
Factory production in September was initially reported to have decreased 0.2 percent, but incoming data on steel, fabricated metal products, machinery, and chemicals helped boost the index. The output of utilities dropped 3.4 percent in October, as unseasonably warm temperatures reduced demand for heating. Production at mines fell 0.1 percent.
Mining production edged down 0.1 percent in October, and its utilization rate fell to 87.9 percent, a rate 0.5 percentage point above its average from 1972 to 2009.
For more details on the October Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report, download the pdf below.