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Industrial Production Edges Up in July

U.S. industrial output rose slightly in July, helped by an increase in manufacturing but held back by declines in the utilities and mining sectors, according to new data from the Federal Reserve.

Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent from June to July after rising at an average pace of 0.5 percent over the previous five months. Manufacturing production increased 0.3 percent, the output of utilities moved down 0.5 percent, and, after posting five consecutive months of growth, the index for mining declined 0.3 percent.

At 108 percent of its 2012 average, total industrial production was 4.2 percent higher in July than it was a year earlier. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was unchanged in July at 78.1 percent, a rate that is 1.7 percentage points below its long-run average, according to Federal Reserve data.

Details on the July data include:

  • Manufacturing output increased 0.3 percent in July and was 2.8 percent higher than its year-earlier level. The index for durables rose 0.4 percent, the index for nondurables moved up 0.2 percent, and the index for other manufacturing (publishing and logging) fell 0.5 percent. Within durables, most major industry groups posted increases; the largest gains, of around 1 percent each, were for motor vehicles and parts and for computer and electronic products. Within nondurables, increases in the indexes for apparel and leather, for petroleum and coal products, for chemicals, and for plastics and rubber products were partly offset by decreases elsewhere.

  • Mining output declined in July, as a further increase in oil and gas extraction was slightly outweighed by decreases in the indexes for other mining and for mining support activities. Despite the pullback in July, mining output was nearly 13 percent above its year-earlier level. The index for utilities fell 0.5 percent in July for its third consecutive monthly decrease.

  • Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased 0.2 percentage point in July to 75.9 percent, a rate that is 2.4 percentage points below its long-run average. The operating rates for durables and nondurables moved up 0.2 percentage point and 0.1 percentage point, respectively. The utilization rate for mining fell to 92 percent, which is 5 percentage points higher than its long-run average. The rate for utilities fell 0.5 percentage point to 77.5 percent, nearly 8 percentage points below its long-run average.

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