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Industrial Production Up 1.1% in February

Industrial production rose 1.1 percent in February following a decline of 0.3 percent in January, according to the latest Federal Reserve statistical release. Manufacturing production increased 1.2 percent during the month, its largest gain since October. Mining output jumped 4.3 percent, mostly reflecting strong gains in oil and gas extraction. At 108.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production in February was 4.4 percent higher than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector climbed 0.7 percentage point in February to 78.1 percent, its highest reading since January 2015 but still 1.7 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.

The output of consumer goods edged up 0.1 percent in February, as a drop of 6.1 percent for consumer energy products nearly outweighed widespread and sizable gains posted by most other consumer goods categories. The output of durable consumer goods jumped 2.8 percent, while the output of non-energy nondurables moved up 1 percent. Business equipment registered a gain of 1 percent, with advances of more than 1 percent posted by transit equipment and information processing equipment and with a smaller increase recorded by industrial and other equipment. The index for defense and space equipment rose 1.5 percent. The output of construction supplies jumped 2.3 percent, while the index for business supplies was unchanged. The production of materials moved up 1.6 percent, with gains in almost all of its components.

Manufacturing output increased 1.2 percent during the month, as gains were recorded by every major manufacturing industry except for electrical equipment, appliances, and components and for petroleum and coal products. Production of durables climbed 1.8 percent, and the index for nondurables moved up 0.7 percent. The output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) increased 0.4 percent.

Mining output jumped 4.3 percent in February, more than reversing its January decline and reflecting strength in the oil and gas sector and in coal mining. The index for oil and gas extraction in February was about 12 percent higher than its year-earlier level and was at the highest level in the history of the series.

Capacity utilization for manufacturing rose 0.9 percentage point to 76.9 percent. The factory operating rate has risen 1.3 percentage points over the past 12 months to reach its highest level since April 2008, but it was still 1.4 percentage points below its long-run average. Utilization for durables increased 1.2 percentage points to 76.8 percent, utilization for mining rose 3.3 percentage points to 87.6 percent, and the capacity utilization rate for utilities fell 3.9 percentage points to 76.9 percent, remaining below its long-run average.

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