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Industrial Production Up in March

Industrial production rose 0.5 percent in March after increasing 1 percent in February, and the index advanced 4.5 percent at an annual rate for the first quarter as a whole, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

After climbing 1.5 percent in February, manufacturing production edged up 0.1 percent in March. Mining output rose 1 percent, due mainly to gains in oil and gas extraction and in support activities for mining. The index for utilities jumped 3 percent after being suppressed in February by warmer-than-normal temperatures.

At 107.2 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.3 percent higher in March than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector moved up 0.3 percentage point in March to 78 percent, 1.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2017) average.

Manufacturing output edged up 0.1 percent in March and increased 3.1 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter. In March, a decline of 0.3 percent for nondurables was outweighed by gains of 0.4 percent for durables and 0.2 percent for other manufacturing (publishing and logging). Among durables, the index for motor vehicles and parts increased 2.7 percent; vehicle assemblies moved up to 12 million units at an annual rate, their highest level since December 2016.


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